I was a momma’s boy growing up. I was pretty spoiled by my mom and everyone knew it. There were many reasons why, too many to go into here but the point is… I was spoiled by my mom and I was just fine with it.
I loved my dad. I respected him and was a bit in awe of him as a kid. He was a tremendous worker and man of accomplishment and community service. My dad served 35 years in the military including WW II and all of this was done with only a high school education. He attained the rank of full Colonel in the Air National Guard and worked for the Governor of Minnesota all while still farming on the evenings and weekends. He did all this to provide for his wife and four children on a farm just outside of Fargo, ND.
Father’s Day is so much about remembering for me. My memories of my dad are many and quite a variety. I remember things like:
– him leaving each morning at around 6:00 am with a coffee and an egg sandwich for his 40-mile drive to the Air Base in Fargo to go to work.
– getting to ride on the side of the tractor next to him as he worked a field and begging him to let me drive while we plowed the ground. He let me drive with a correcting hand ready to grab the wheel when I got off track.
– having me sit on his shoulders as I watched the Blue Angels at the Air Show at the base because I was too short see over every one else.
– playing chess in the dining room with him at night after baths and always wondering if I really did win or if he let me win while he smoked his pipe.
– his shopping with me for earrings for my mom at Christmas, and how he constantly guided me away from the real diamonds to some earring shaped like a fish.
– letting me help him hook up the camper to the car to go fishing in Canada every summer and the patience he showed as I always thought I got a bite from a fish every other second.
– standing in the cold and rain to watch me play football in high school and never complained about being there in the worst weather.
– waiting up for me if I was out late with friends to make sure I was ok (a well-deserved lecture also came if I was later than agreed upon)
– sitting with a program in the audience for every choir and band concert, musical, etc. I was ever in.
– taking me duck hunting before morning light and reminding me that shouting “here comes one!” doesn’t help the duck get closer.
– walking behind him as he walked behind the casket of his wife taken too soon in their life together, so broken and vulnerable and scared. I had never seen him like that.
– standing next to him dressed in tuxedos for a picture on the day I would marry the woman he would call a girl who is “strong” and “carries herself well.” He was right 🙂
There is a lot more that I would selfishly like to tell you but I want to show a favorite picture I have in my house. It’s a picture that was taken after my dad had returned from leading an Air Guard Competition Team winning a trophy called the William Tell Trophy. Mom had made the outfit I’m wearing because Mom thought we should look good when our father, who is an officer, returns home from a successful military trip. For me, the focus of this picture is what he is doing and what I am doing…
I’m looking up at him, and he is smiling at me.
Isn’t that how God looks at us?
That’s what I want to remember more than anything.
That’s what I want my kids to remember about me.
I need to do so much better than I have been. I have made some good memories but I need to grasp the truth that it’s not too late make more. I’m still here. I’m still a dad. I’m not done yet. I can still make some pretty cool memories not just for my kids but my wife, my friends, and my neighbors.
My dad died on August 3rd, 1994. He was not perfect but I don’t care. That’s not what counts. What counts is……
I know I had his blessing.
I know I had his love even if rarely said.
I know he was pleased with me even though I almost burned the house down… (another story for another time :))
I pray my children know the same from me. I can still show them. I can do better. Maybe even capture it in a picture.
God is good all the time