Here’s to You, Dad!

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It’s Father’s Day 2009 and time to pay special tribute to our fathers. I know that many haven’t been blessed with the greatest dads in the world and there are far too many who don’t have fathers present in their lives. But my dad was one of the good ones. He might not have been the most openly demonstrative person in the world but he showed his love for us in many different ways as I was growing up, a fact that I’ve come to appreciate more and more as I’ve gotten older and wiser. Here are some of the ways that Dad “got it right.”

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He faithfully loved my mother until the day he died. My mom was the exact opposite of my dad. Where he was a methodical, miserly, neat freak, self-educated factory worker, Mom was an unconventional, messy, spendthrift, college-educated teacher. I know she must have tried his patience sorely over the years but he didn’t call it quits when the going would get rough. He hung in there, as did she and their marriage was the stronger for it. I had the blessing of growing up in an unfractured family, knowing my dad would be home every night, all of us sitting down for meals together. It gave me a real sense of security knowing that I could count on him being there.

At Lake Superior

Dad made time for us each year, joining us for our vacations on the farm and introducing us to his boyhood haunts. He worked in a factory all of his adult life so he didn’t get his summers off like my mother, who was a teacher. But he always took a vacation each summer and would drive us out to his boyhood home where he’d show us his old fishing spots and take us around to see his boyhood friends. He loved to give us those glimpses into his life as a boy although I didn’t see it as such at the time. Then it just seemed like one more of those never ending visits we had to make each year. But now I see that it was his way of letting us see him as a person and not just “Dad.” I wish that I had paid more attention back then.

Dad Admiring my Cooking

He always made whatever I did seem special. My mom didn’t do the cooking in our house; my dad cooked. His repertoire was pretty much limited to 7 or 8 meals which we had over and over again. So when I decided to learn how to cook, I didn’t really have any teacher. Plus, I didn’t want to learn how to do “normal” recipes. I would try exotic dishes like pierogis or Russian recipes like blini. Quite frankly, they usually turned out horrible. Yet Dad would eat everything I made and ask for seconds. He always complimented me on my cooking. His affirming nature spilled over into other areas of my life. He was my biggest fan. Whatever I did, however I did it….I was a prodigy. This was great because my mom was on the other end of the spectrum. Whatever I did and however I did it, I could have done it better. My ego and confidence needed that affirmation that my dad provided.

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Dad got involved in the lives of his children. I already mentioned that Dad worked in a factory. Most of those years, it was shift work where he worked all night long and then came home and slept during the day when we were in school. But he made time to take us to school sporting events, come to our concerts, attend church with us every week. I went off to college just as he retired. Soon Dad became a weekend regular at my college. He loved to come up there and attend the college football games or have lunch in the student union. I was quite active in the drama department and he faithfully attended all of my plays. When my mom decided to go back to school and pursue her Master’s degree at my college, Dad and I would go bowling on the weekend while Mom was in class. I loved those visits.

Arriving Home

Dad always let us know that he was proud of us. When I joined the military, my dad was so proud. I think he really was living vicariously a bit through my adventures overseas in the Army and the Navy. Dad had been too young to serve in WWI and too old to serve in WWII but I think he always had a fascination with the military. When I was stationed in the States, he loved to come on the posts and later, the bases and have me give him the grand tours. When I was stationed in Germany and later, in Greece, he wrote me a letter a day, like clockwork. If I came home for a visit, I’d always have to wear my uniform at least once so he could show me off to his friends. That love and pride was not conditional with Dad. It was really the first modeling I had of God’s love…knowing there was someone who loved you and was willing to sacrifice for you even when you weren’t very lovable. Thank you, Dad!

Sadly, Dad had a fatal heart attack while I was on my honeymoon. My children never had the privilege of knowing their Grandpa Loose. But his legacy lives on through his children and his story lives on through me. Here’s to you, Dad! Happy Father’s Day.

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3 Responses

  1. This is beautiful Dee. Sounds like you had a truly amazing father.

  2. wonderful tribute…i miss my daddy, too! i can’t believe he’s been gone 19 years now…my daughter never got to know him either. he was my hero in many ways
    thx 4 sharing him w/ us 🙂

  3. What a touching tribute! Thanks for sharing it.

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