Sunday, June 21, 2009

No Cards for the Cardmaker's Family

Life tends to get in the way, sometimes, and those who are closest to us are frequently the people most likely to pay the price. Just like the cliche about the shoemaker's children never having any shoes, the two most important men in my life---my father and my husband---didn't get Father's Day cards this year from me. It is with apologies and gratitude for their understanding and unconditional love that I write this post in lieu of a card, that they may have something other than the spoken assurance of the measure of their influence in my life.

As do many daughters, I have a special bond with my father that began the moment of my birth and exists to this day. Growing up, Dad was the person in the family who we all went to when we really wanted something, because "no" wasn't a regular word in his vocabulary. Not to say we were spoiled---we weren't. Our requests were not extravagant, as our intent was not to create problems between our parents, but we didn't mind the risk of Dad's receiving Mom's raised eyebrow, audible exhale and shake of her head because Dad never seemed to mind that, either! (Sorry, Mom!)

Dad traveled a little with his work, but he was almost always there for our performances, my brother's little league games and our special events. And when he did travel, his absence was noticed and his return (frequently bearing souvenirs) was eagerly anticipated. His experimental recipes were not as eagerly anticipated, however, but have left the family with a variety of interesting and funny tales to repeat when we all get together! (FYI: Cucumbers do not taste very good when they are cooked.) Dad's Saturday morning tradition (unbeknownst to us begun when it became clear that Mom would like a few hours to herself on a regular basis) was to pile the 4 of us in the car and head for a local site to explore: the beach, a wildlife reserve, an abandoned property armed with a metal detector, and/or our regular haunts of the candy stores where we were allowed to get $.25 worth of penny candy. (Remember Button candy, waxed lips, fireballs, and Mary Jane's?!) On a summer Saturday afternoon, it was a common occurrence for Dad to tell us to 'get all your friends and I'll take you to the Dairy Queen', where he'd treat us all to refreshing chocolate/vanilla swirl ice cream cones or a Dilly Bar! (I can only believe now that this chagrined many mothers who knew it was too close to supper for such a treat, but couldn't let their children feel left out!) Watermelon, Orange Crush, toasted marshmallows on the BBQ after fixing and eating dinner...our neighborhood children knew who had the goods and were rarely out of earshot if they suspected we'd be enjoying any of these treats.

Over the years, Dad's exhibitions of love have frequently involved the sharing of the foods he loves--(when my daughter was about 3, the sound of the ice cream truck's music somewhere in the neighborhood prompted her to say, "Grandpa is going to be SO happy!")--but continues to be demonstrated in so many other generous and supportive ways, without which our lives would be drastically different and for which we will be eternally grateful.

My husband, who is the father of our two daughters, also received no card from me this year and although he seems unbothered by it, I cannot help the twinge of guilt I feel. The man is a remarkable father who truly enjoys the role tremendously. The girls have been fortunate to have been born to at least one parent who enjoys playing and who has put aside time to do just that on a regular basis since the day our first was born. (As I write this, he is playing a board game with our eldest.) On many an afternoon or evening over the years, he has been known to don an eye patch, a funny hat, and an "Arrrrrrr", or create complicated storylines with every toy in the house that had at least one eye (of which every one--including the kid's meal toys--had a name, thus making them very difficult to part with by growing children, leading to an occasional "arrrrrrr" from me!). Another favorite game was made up with superballs and empty cardboard tubes from bolts of fabric when bunk beds were bought, bringing peals of laughter from the girls' shared room as most of the balls rolled far underneath the dresser, requiring a broom to rescue it. "Disney voices" are still a constant request from our youngest daughter, who sometimes forgets that Daddy isn't a toy and might not ALWAYS be able to satisfy her every playful whim!

I certainly have been blessed to have such positive examples of what it means to be a father, and as it has become obvious through the spousal and parenting choices of myself and my siblings, our children will most likely look for partners that will enable a similar connection with their own children, passing the legacy on of Dad being an active part in his children's lives and creating many happy and special memories with them to pass on to their own. And on and on.

Happy Father's Day to my father, my husband, my brother and brothers-in-law, and to all the great dads out there who share themselves with their children and provide them with the knowledge that they are wanted, loved, and supported no matter their choices in life. You are all amazing.

Visit Made by SwirlyGirl's Etsy Shop for blank note cards and matted photo art.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely and loving tribute to the men in your family. And it brought back so many sweet memories of my own father, gone now. Thank you.


Thanks for your comments!