So today is the third year in a row that I have not bought a Father’s Day card. I was looking at some pictures of my Mom and Dad, trying to figure out what I wanted to say.

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Circa 1956, or so. Way before my time. So young and happy and in love. Neither of them had a clue what lay in store. All the hardships, all the laughter, tears, life’s ups and downs. My sister Angel said something the other day about how without Mom, we wouldn’t have had Dad. I have thought about that a lot. Dad was a dreamer; he gave us girls our wings. He taught us that we could do anything or be anything that we wanted. He had respect for women, in spite of growing up in a poverty-stricken, misogynistic environment. He saw his Mother, cousins and sisters misused, abused, neglected and abandoned. Yet there was something in him that seemed to realize that was not the right way to go. He had his faults, to be sure, but that didn’t stop us girls from loving him anyway. But a dreamer needs someone to ground them from time to time; to give them roots. That was what Mom did for him; that’s what she did for all of us. She did her best to teach all of us girls to be ladies. I never realized until later years just what tough stuff she is made of.

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Mom will probably say something like, “Couldn’t you find a better picture? Your Father is all sweaty!” But I love this picture. Taken somewhere around 2009ish or so, they had just come in from the garden. I was lucky to have spent quite a bit of time out there with them. It was during this time of life that I finally felt I had the kind of relationship with my Dad that I always wanted. While we were growing vegetables, we were growing into mature Father-daughter friendship. Mom and I still garden together, and we often feel that he is hanging out with us. Even though he is gone now, there are reminders of him everywhere.

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He planted these lilies about 5 years ago. He loved when they bloomed. So this year, they are blooming on Father’s Day weekend, his gift to us.
Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there. Be sure to hug your Dad. If you can’t hug him, at least give him a call.

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