Gentle, steadfast and true. Wiping away the tears and giving a much needed hug to make everything all better. Rising before the crack of dawn and spending an entire lifetime in the elements as a mail carrier, working countless hours of overtime to take care of his family. Helping out with the housework when all he probably felt like doing was diving onto the sofa for a well deserved snooze. Not complaining when a pesty kid sat all over him when he was trying to relax. That’s my dad.
I do remember every now and them him getting pissed, and I will always remember that snapping of the belt if we got out of line–but he never hit us, just wanted to scare the crap out of the four of us, and he did. I’m not sure how to best describe his parenting style–I guess tough but a teddy bear at the same time. Took no crap but allowed you to be you. But, he did also mellow out with time, and has aged to wonderful perfection. He’s an incredibly humble man, so very appreciative, a great listener and a super guy. He is a news junkie and tries to stay current on world events, and look out on history or geography in Trivial Pursuit.
More than any other thing, I appreciate how much my father loves my mother. It taught me so many things. If you take care of your own relationship, you will be happier and as a result, your kids will probably be happier. Their love radiated in all that they did: from making every holiday seem special, to taking us on Sunday drives, by keeping close with their own immediate families, taking the time to make sure the family ate dinner together whenever possible, acting somewhat as a referee to their bickering kids–but for the most part letting us figure out how to get along as long as we didn’t kill each other. Whatever we did, whether being good kids or not so much, you always knew were loved, and I appreciate that. So thank you dad. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect dad. I love you.
I couldn’t stop at my own dad, but also have to chime in that my husband is a wonderful dad as well. I love that he has never talked down to them, and treats them not as kids, but as the little people that they truly are. He’s definitely strict when he needs to be, but I know that he is only doing so out of love and the desire for them to live their own happy lives some day. I love that he can be every bit as much of a big kid with them, as he is their tough and strong dad. I know he may not be perfect in every way, but my kids certainly know that they are loved by him, and that’s half the battle.
So here’s a big thank you to all that you’ve done, and continue to do. The arguments you’ve won and lost, as we both no doubt have learned and grown from them. The tears of joy and grief as we’ve wept together. Losing our loved ones and getting through all of the difficult years of childbearing. Taking the time to be kids with my kids, and being their ears when they needed to bend them. Your love and kindness is immeasurable and will never be forgotten.