Sunday, June 20, 2004

Happy Father’s Day? YES!

I used to get a little jumpy around Father’s Day. 26 years ago, that was when my father told us all that he was leaving our family to be with someone else. What I never admitted to him was that I had actually found out a few days earlier by accident. LIke any child who hopes to change an adults mind, I poured all of my efforts over the next few days into that single purpose - I created a little illustrated book of all of the things I loved most about my Dad hoping that it would convince him to stay. I didn’t understand then that guilt really isn’t the most effective persuasion tool.

Now that I am a parent, Father’s Day has taken on a different meaning...I am more aware of how to help my daughters celebrate their love for their father. This morning, they are sitting at the dining room table putting the finishing touches on some adorable cards while the object of today’s celebration gets a much needed chance to sleep in.

Yet, as I thought about how to write this blog entry, especially as I am watching a very good friend struggle with helping her own kids adapt to living in a divorce environment, I knew that I had to also celebrate the many things that my Father continues to give to my life.

It was my father that introduced me to books about Science Fiction and Fantasy, beginning a lifelong addiction that would have me dreaming of other worlds where dragons did fly and the distant stars were not so unreachable.

It was Dad’s boundless enthusiasm and love of new adventures that made me brave enough to leave home for University on the East Coast at the age of 17. I don’t know if I would ever have met Nick otherwise...

My father loved to travel and we were lucky enough to take many trips as a family to such far away places as New Zealand, Bermuda and Florida. When he left, although it was hard to have him so far away, his living in Hawaii and Tulsa also gave me even more wonderful opportunities to travel. This is something that has become a priority for our family as well. Visiting new places, especially new countries, reminds us that “our way” is not the only one in the world.

It was Dad who first showed me that it was OK to be silly with your kids and just play with them. Perhaps that is why I looked to that quality in my husband, knowing that someday I would want him to be able to do the same with our own children.

It was Dad who taught me to adore music and singing in harmony... though it is equally beautiful to watch my “other father” John bring that alive in my daughters and keep the music going in my own life.

It was Dad whose eternal optimism taught me that you can dare to dream BIG (we do Big well in our family... it is all a question of scale!) and to chase that dream... even if it didn’t turn out quite the way you expected. While I learned more of the organizational ways to make those dreams actually come true from my Mom, I owe a lot of that “stardust and dreams” hopefulness to Dad.

I’ve learned that loving someone has nothing to do with them fitting into your expectations and everything to do with just loving them for who they are... no matter what... without conditions. That’s a great lesson to know with all the important people in my life. not just the DADs

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