Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song. Dan Brown
Father’s day is a bittersweet day for many of us. We’ve lost our Dad’s or worse yet they were never in our lives, or the relationship wasn’t good.
We all have a father; we couldn’t be here without one. He occupies a place in our heart or leaves a hole in it. We can’t ignore our father’s impact on our lives.
This morning I thought about the time the horse I bought kicked a hole in his new barn. He never said anything “that I can recall,” just patched the hole.
I drove the tines of the front end loader into the big rear tires of another tractor. He never said anything about that either, but I did have to help fix the tire.
He helped me break my horse Chinook. She’d never been ridden when I bought her. Looking back Mom and Dad had a lot of confidence and faith in us kids. We had the freedom to ride our horses, and Chinook and I traveled the trails around our home. It was an idyllic life growing up.
Having a dad who is there for us, a constant fixture, guiding and encouraging us is a blessing. We didn’t have a lot of expectations placed on us; we were encouraged to live our lives our way. We were given examples of how to deal with life.
Dad loved us, loved mom, and loved the farm. It is a great gift when you grow up where people are happy. You don’t even think about not being happy, it is not about everything going well. I came home for a visit one year, and six cows had gotten into the chop (ground grain) they died because they don’t know when to quit eating. It had just happened the carcasses were still lying where they died. If you are going to deal in livestock, you’ll have to deal with dead stock. It was just another fact of life. Dad was good at dealing with life.
Having parents who are good at dealing with life, is one of the great blessings I’ve had. They’d both been in other marriages and appreciated what they had, each other, and us kids. My mom said to me once, “the greatest gift you can give your children is to love their father.” I think she’s right. Growing up in a house filled with love shows you it can exist.
We can only build lives we can imagine and having an example makes imagining a happy marriage, with happy children easier. Shared accomplishments are a big part of a happy marriage I think. When lives are as intertwined as they are on a farm you need to be all in or it can’t work. Small businesses are the same.
One of the things that Dad and Mom always tried to be is fair. What they couldn’t do for all of us they didn’t do for one of us. When one of your biggest qualities is fairness I think that is pretty good.
What you teach your children, you also teach their children. Unknown
One regret I have is that I moved so far away, and then in retirement Mom and Dad moved to B.C. which made it even further. My children haven’t had the close experience of grandparents with Mom and Dad. They missed out on that. We drove out in 2007 to see Mom and Dad. Dad wasn’t doing well, but maybe we don’t see things we don’t want to see, he didn’t make it to the next Father’s day.
Dad had a good life, and he had a good death, he didn’t suffer, he didn’t end up hooked up to machines, he didn’t linger. He always said he wanted to die in his sleep; he had a massive heart attack at the breakfast table. He left Mom in a good financial position; he was a good husband, father, provider, example, and person. I was waiting to call him for Father’s Day, a call I never got to make.
We didn’t have anything left unsaid. There was no angst we needed to deal with. Miles and distance don’t have to mean we aren’t close to our families. That is a choice, many people live close but distant lives. We lived distant but close lives. Dad always had good advice, he was encouraging, he looked on the bright side, and he could see what was important. He was willing to give people a chance; he was willing to see the best in them instead of the worst. I don’t remember Dad ever not talking to someone because of his choice.
He made an effort to heal relationships that weren’t broken because of his actions. I’ve always been impressed by that. You can’t fix the hole in someone’s life, but you can do what you can do, and doing is better than not doing. When we help someone deal with an unfair hand they were dealt in life, we’ve done a good thing.
I miss you Dad. It is with a grateful heart I think about Dad this Father’s Day. I think he did his best; he built a good life for Mom and all of us. He was steady, strong, encouraging, and positive. He was an example of living a good life. When we would visit my Uncle who had calendars with semi-nude women on them, the pictures were turned to the wall because Dad didn’t like them. Our home was a place of equal opportunity. Dad loved us all equally, or so it seemed to me.
If on this Father’s day we can think back to the wonderful times we had with our father we have a lot to be grateful for. If there was no father in our life, maybe someone filled that role to some greater or lesser degree. Their presence was a gift. To all the men who have stepped up to father someone else’s children kudos to you. Being a stepfather is one of the hardest roles to fill. We all need to be grateful for men who step up and take on responsibilities that weren’t their responsibility.
To all the father’s, and step-father’s that do the best they can. Where would we be without you?
The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature. Antoine-Francois Prevost
Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.
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