My dad died fourteen years ago.
His fathering abilities left something to be desired but for my own good, I forgave and grieved his loss as though those childhood years never existed. By God’s grace I came to love him deeply, realizing that he had always loved me as well. It’s complicated and not necessary to share details except to say that while I was exposed to his anger, it wasn’t usually directed at me. I even came to understand his absence from my life even when he was present.
My dad liked to “invent” things and while they were usually crude, given some encouragement, I think he could have done great things. He did get a bonus at work for something he designed for the company. He loved gardening but didn’t understand that a garden can also look good. None the less, the produce was delicious and to this day I miss his Concord grapes-a crop most people won’t even attempt.
I have a number of benches my father built. All different sizes. I have a very rustic birdhouse he built that I will never get rid of. These were my dad’s way of saying he was sorry. I only heard him say he loved me once and the circumstances are as clear as if it were happening right now. Isn’t it strange how hearing someone say they love us is especially sweet when we know how long it was in coming and how out of character it was for the one who spoke it.
He was a great grandfather and made up with them for what he lacked in our relationship.
So today I say,” Thanks Dad for speaking those words when you did.” Only you and I know why the words were prompted amidst the shocking circumstances of that day.
If you’re a dad with a grown daughter and you’ve never told your daughter you love her, do it soon. A daughter’s relationship with her spouse very much hinges on her relationship with her dad. That could be your Father’s day gift from you to you.
(Posted from my phone so please overlook the errors. :))