Today's the day we celebrate the men who have assumed the monumental task of raising offspring; a good thing to do. I served my deserving husband breakfast in bed this morning, and will call my son, father of one, and relay my best wishes to him. But, as I think about what this special day means to me, my thoughts are of the man I always called "Daddy".
I remember first his smile and laugh. He loved to tease, tell silly jokes, and revelled in happy times with family and friends. A grateful smile would grace his face whenever he spoke of his love for my mother.
It wasn't until his senior years, though, when he endured heart surgery to lengthen his days, that he was comfortable expressing his love with words or a hug. I reasoned that, when he faced the possibility of death, he wanted to be sure he took every opportunity he had left to let those he loved know it.
He'd not been raised in a household where such demonstrations ever happened. I can still hear him saying, with emotion in his throat, how he never knew what love was until he married my mother and experienced her caring as well as her family's.
I inherited his quick temper and stubborn attitude (which my husband has softened over the years), but I learned many wonderful lessons from him about how to be a good parent. He was strict, which I sometimes resented, but later respected. He was generous while teaching me when to be frugal, and made me appreciate what true generosity means. Those lessons were only a small part of the gifts he gave me as a father.
I wasn't ready for him to exit this life, but I knew he was lonely for my mother who left us before him, so I tried to rationalize that it was for the best. But, to this day, over fourteen years later, the sound of his voice, his love of music, food, wine and good times are still a part of my daily memories - and I miss him so much.
Happy Father's Day, Daddy. You taught me so much - and believe it or not, you still are. That's a terrific legacy.