Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day

Happy Fathers Day!

My father has been gone for four years, but he is in my memories every day. Below is a retelling of one of these memories.

The Baby

When we were growing up, my father looked like the traditional father from the 1960's. He worked hard as a lineman to provide for us while our mother did more of the childcare and housework. In addition, he was a man's man, who excelled at all of the things that men did in our rural area—hunting, fishing, boating, and marksmanship.

The new baby and her sisters
However if you looked a little deeper, you found that he was more than he appeared to be. Not only was he a man's man, he was a family man and did more than just bring home a paycheck. For example, when I was a baby, he did all of the cooking for my sisters while my mother tried night and day to get me to stop crying. He let us hang out with him after work while he played cards with his buddies and held our hand as we walked home. However, there was one time in particular that he showed a sensitive and wise side that I will never forget.

I was four years old, the baby of the family, and the world revolved around me as far as I was concerned. That is why I was so shocked when my father woke us one morning and said, “Your mother had a baby last night.”

How could that be? I hadn't heard anything about a new baby coming. Of course, my mother later said that we had talked about it and I had even gotten a new bed in anticipation of the coming baby. But none of that had registered with me. I guess that's how things worked in my self-absorbed four-year-old mind. At any rate, I wasn't too sure how I felt about this new situation.

That changed, however, the day they brought my sister home from the hospital. We were all gathered around the door and I was sitting on the steps out of the way. My father was the first to enter carrying the new bundle and he immediately put her in my arms. He didn't wait until my mother was inside. He didn't hand her to my older sisters, he gave her to me. I felt a little scared with this responsibility but also felt very special. While holding my new sister, I decided that having this baby around might not be so bad after all. Years later, I realized what an important gesture this was from my father.

Over the years, this tenderness continued to shine through my father's stern, no-nonsense exterior. Maybe that's why I never stopped calling him Daddy.