Friday, June 23
One for the Daddys out there......
Realizing most of my readers (lol, I have readers?!) are women, this might not be the most pertinent of entries. Then again, I write more as an outlet, so if ANYONE sees this, that's cool. If anyone might benefit, waaaaaaay cooler. (If you don't read anything else, scroll down to the end, it's where I FINALLY make my point :D)

With Father's Day just having passed, I've been thinking about my own father quite a bit. As I posted recently, his health declined over the past year--a horrifying overnight decent--and that allowed us the...privilege...of role reversal, as child became the caregiver for parent. Gratefully, my siblings and I have a lesser role in his care due to his faithful wife of 15 years who has become his greatest advocate, and a team of home health providers.

I have had to slog through what it means to love him...to honor him...to see the value in his life (a body no longer able to process conscious thought). NOT just in lip service, but in action. The spiritual aspect of this, early on, was excruciating for me and my siblings. We have each acknowledged our need for a Savior, but my father never did as far as we knew. What an amazing time to search the Scriptures and to see what God had to say about hope. And that was enough (as you can imagine, that's another entire story in and of itself).

Before I lived it experientially, a child becoming a caregiver for their parent was a rather romantic notion to me. It sounded lovely and simple and noble. What I discovered was it was one of the most difficult "dying to self" moments imagineable. To witness your father recognizing his loss in ability and dignity, while requiring a dependence on others is agonizing. This is not pretty, but there is beauty. This might sound crazy, but each time I've taken a turn in his care, I've seen it as a high and holy calling...this is bigtime "not about me"...it's all about glorifying God through this act of service and love and obedience.

Okay....on to what I planned on writing about when I started today...!

My dad and I have not been close throughout my life, but we have always had a good relationship. He had a lot of baggage from his childhood and relationship with his parents (not good), and I'm rather certain that carried over into his marriage to my mom and to his children. I never knew what he felt about anything, but knew what he thought about most things. As an adult, and then later as a parent, I was critical of my father--inwardly, not openly. I saw his flaws, where he "failed" me as a parent. He was selfish, a compulsive gambler, and did not treat my mother well.

I have always attributed "how well I turned out" (that was NOT an LOL!) (LOL) to 1) my mother, in spite of the fact she died when I was in third grade; 2) to my in-laws, who prayed faithfully for their sons' wives from the time they were little, and 3) pure GRACE! My siblings and I did well in school, were diverse in our activites, chose good friends and enjoyed healthy relationships, were good employees, etc., etc. I've always said I was one of the most "normal" people I know (again, NOT an lol, and really, not a pat on the back. I guess by "normal" I just mean reasonable and even-tempered in my response to life...). I gave my father no credit.

Until now. I think I've finally seen that he got some of the most important things RIGHT.

Our pastor shared some insight from Robert Lewis as penned in his book Raising a Modern Day Knight. He mentioned three things [all children] should hear from their fathers: 1) I love you; 2) I'm proud of you; and 3) You do that well [whatever "that" may be] . These are all things I've heard from my dad throughout my life, and often. I've also just completed reading Captivating. While I don't agree with everything Stasi and John wrote, and it was doggone hard for me to get through their flowery, artistic, and at times, far-reaching language, I saw additional things my father offered. He assured me (and my sister) of our beauty, both inner and outer; he saw our potential, and recognized and encouraged our strengths. He verbalized this affirmation and he was generous with his touch, hugging or kissing daily, even throughout highschool or whenever I was home to visit. I'm smiling now as I remember his "whisker rubs"--that rough, gruff, 5 o'clock shadow, sandpapered against a child's tender cheek, that we simultaneously hated but invited and loved.

So...to my father-friends (and to father bloggers)...you don't have to be perfect! You can have a gazillion flaws and your children can even see 'em. But you still have the chance to make a difference by getting the important things right. I am so thankful I finally have the eyes...and humility to see this:).

  Into the pensieve on Friday, June 23, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (11)


11 Comments:
At June 24, 2006, Blogger Karmyn R said...

That's a nice way of thinking about dads - to try and accept them for who they are and what they did do. It is easy to get caught up in the negatives. Good advice to think about for both parents.

 
At June 25, 2006, Blogger Mama Duck said...

Awwww, that's very sweet.

 
At June 25, 2006, Blogger JenLo said...

What a testament to your growth as a person to realize the truth of what your dad contributed to your life. I've had my own little epiphany in this area and I jotted some things on my blog on Father's Day as well--it was the first time I'd been able to really identify the positive attributes my dad passed on to me. Found you through BChicks.

 
At June 25, 2006, Blogger Malissa said...

Very nice post.

The longer I parent the more I realize that my imperfect parents were doing their best just like I am.

I'm sure my son will have his rolling his eyes stories about how I messed things up!

Visiting from the Blogging Chicks

 
At June 26, 2006, Blogger Robin said...

I don't think any parent is a perfect parent. I'm not even sure I know what that would be like.
My parents were wonderful. I had a great childhood. My dad died when I was 24 and my mom will turn 69 in a few days. She's the best.

As for me and Rich....I think we are great parents and Lillianna does too,which is a plus! We will never be perfect and I tell Lillianna,"Every day is not a winner!" when things don't seem to go her way....or mine. We just muddle through and that's all you can really do. If you love your kids unconditionally,you give them a great foundation!

 
At June 28, 2006, Blogger PatentPrincess said...

Found you through the BC carnival :)

Very insightful message, and something I like to remind myself of once in a while in reference to my relationship with my own parents and my potential as a mother (which looks like is going to happen soon since I'm newly pregnant!) Thank you for sharing this.

 
At June 29, 2006, Blogger Robin said...

Hey Chicks...thanks for stopping here during your ride on the carnival :). Your words are always encouraging. Know what two things my dad said when I called him on Father's Day (and btw, he doesn't really "talk" on the phone)? He heard me say "Hi, Daddy" and he said "I'm proud of you" and then, without hearing a word I said, he said "Do you have enough money?" I think he DID hear his little girl....somewhere "in there"...

 
At August 28, 2006, Blogger Pamela said...

came back to visit this through todays blog

I will have to have my hubby read it...
he was always pretty proactive as a father. In fact, many times when the girls would call home in tears they would say, Can I talk to dad.

I'm not chopped liver, I'm sure... it's just that sometimes he though more clearly in a crisis. I became one with the crisis instead.

 
At August 28, 2006, Blogger e-Mom said...

Nice, really nice. I've just read this for the first time. Today I wished my father a happy 84th birthday. He's still fit as a fiddle, but who knows how long that will last? Dads can't replace Moms, and maybe that's some of what you were missing growing up. I'm sorry your mother passed away so long ago. Hugs.

 
At October 12, 2006, Blogger Malissa said...

aha! here was the 1st Malissa comment;)
I thought it was the Southern Baptist/wine thing--was that you? I guess I'll find out.

 
At October 18, 2006, Anonymous LeftCoastOnlooker said...

I really have to think about this one -- you've challenged me to re-evaluate

 

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Please click the red pensieve...it's my current blogging spot!

My Photo Name:
Robin

Location:
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Married to my college sweet-heart :)...three GREAT kids I'm not selling to the circus today...I LOVE to laugh (& smile often)...love to read & cook, hate to shop (unless the store is very small and doesn't leave me dazed and confused). I'm scared of flying so although I'd like to travel more, I don't.

I've been pleasantly surprised to find life in my 40s to be an amazing time of transformation & discovery--of self, others, creation and the Creator.

Here's a partial explanation for my Blog title. I think it'd be cool if they really existed.

A Pensieve is a stone basin.... [One] can extract his or her own memories and place them in the Pensieve, especially to relieve the mind when it becomes too flooded with information. Anyone can examine the memories in the Pensieve, which also allows viewers to fully immerse themselves in the memories stored within...

A Pensieve first appears in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire...

For the complete explanation, see
my 2/17/06 post.

My complete profile

Only of interest to those who actually know her......
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Home Invasion
Rest In Peace
GOTCHA!
Nectar of the gods.....
While the cat's away, the mice will play
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