Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘Father’s day’

In Search of Dads’ Day

I had something else in mind for posting today but as I was going through my photos, this was the first to pop up. I think I’m being summoned.

That was his spot. Everything in his late life happened there.

That was his spot. Everything in his late life happened there.

My father has been gone 16 years now and Fathers’ Day was hard for us when he was alive. He wasn’t the warm cuddly kind of dad. He wasn’t “likable” to his children and we really didn’t get to know him. I learned much later in life that he was a voracious reader. So books became the thing to buy him. When I found out we were reading the same spiritual books, it finally gave us something to talk about. He was thinking about his end, I was working on my present.

My day always sat in that chair with a book or magazine in front of him. He wore only blue and mom had a hard time getting the clothes he wore to the washer. Now he showered every day, He just liked his clothes soft and lived in. They would be threadbare before she could sneak them away to toss. Because he’d worn a military uniform most of his working life, the blue shirts, pants and sweaters were his new uniform.

Sometimes warm and cuddly isn't what we need for life. We were well prepared.

Sometimes warm and cuddly isn’t what we need for life. We were well prepared.

Since I have no father living, my children have no father living and my son is not a father, what’s the point of even thinking about Fathers’ Day? I guess it’s to remember them and the gifts they gave us along the way. My dad always said the most dangerous thing in the world was a closed mind. I found that comment interesting coming from him.

My son said the thing he learned from his father was what kind of father he didn’t want to be and how much he wanted to handle frustrations in a better way. His dad thought it was his job to make the living and mine to do the rest. There was no balance. These dads didn’t know how to be daddies. I think there is a difference. There was no place for them to learn. They did their best as did we. Happy Father’s Day to all that are fathers.

He smiled a lot too. Can you see the smile? No, me either

He smiled a lot too. Can you see the smile? No, me either

My sister sent a text this morning to wish me a happy summer solstice. Now that my dad has had his say, I’ll go back to celebrating the solstice in my garden before they turn the oven back up later this week.

Do you find reasons to celebrate dads’ day?

“Fathers never have exactly the daughters they want because they invent a notion of them that the daughters have to conform to.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Woman Destroyed

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of the meaning of Father

Father’s Day is here once again. I don’t believe I’ve ever done a post explicitly about my dad. I read all the stories about close relationships with dads and am always struck with envy. My dad was a good man. He just wasn’t around much and didn’t know what to do with us when he was home. I had almost no memory of his existence before the age of 6 ½. Military life kept him mostly far from us. When he was home, there seemed an uncertainty about him. What was he supposed to do with these little rug rats? He was the oldest of 10 children. When I asked him toward the end of his life how he could go away from his family and not write to his mother, he said he was just another mouth to feed. That sentence broke my heart and answered all my questions.

Dad gave what he had to give. He was the one who sat with me on Sunday afternoons holding a dictionary. I was between 11-13 and struggling with the English language. The nuances were difficult to grasp and I was always feeling like such an idiot because I didn’t understand what someone was saying. He would open that dictionary and pick a random word, tell me to spell it and tell him what I thought it meant. I learned root words, prefixes and suffixes from him. He taught me to guess what a word meant by the root of that word. There isn’t a conversation I can’t follow now because of that drill. Words finally became my friends and they fascinated me.

My dad was hardcore military. Strict and meticulous as any soldier needs to be. He sacrificed his toys so his kids could have some. One Christmas, during the dictionary years, he spent a lot of time at the base wood shop, building a desk with a typewriter insert for me as well as a bookcase. My love of books was already in full bloom. He sold his shotgun that he hunted with, to buy my brother a bike. No more squirrels or rabbits in our pots.

Just a child in uniform.

Just a child in uniform.

After he retired, I discovered we were reading the same books. He would devour everything Edgar Casey had as well as anyone else, in his spiritual quest. We were traveling the same path 2000 miles apart. We could finally have a conversation of sorts. Retirement was very hard on him. Without the structure of the military, he seemed to flounder. He was a man of deep commitment. That I knew when my mother would try his patience to no end and he would say he was there until he left the planet. He came back to Germany for my mother and I when so many had abandoned the children they produced. It took until I was four to get all the channels and hoops jumped. He may not have been the warm, cuddly dad so many have but he was a good example of tenacity and doing what was right in spite of popular opinion. I was able to be by his side as he drew his last breath and hold his memory fondly as I write this. He made the writing possible. Thanks Dad.


“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”

Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself