June 19, 2011

On Daddy's Girls

I loved my father so much, I wanted to be him.  I wanted to run like wild horses, as fast as the wind, because my Daddy was a runner, and that's how fast he was.  I wanted to wear jeans and T-shirts and sweat suits and sneakers on my feet, because until I was 10, these were the only clothes my Daddy ever wore.  He gave the best horse-back rides in the world because he could bench press a couple of men his size, so I was just a lilliputian on top of his shoulders.  But up there, I could see the world.

When I got too old to sit on top of his shoulders or on his lap, I still remembered how fun that used to be.  I still thought I had the coolest Dad in the world, who had traded his track suit for a three-piece suit and a badge.  He was tough, no-nonsense, optimistic, and practical.  I was anything but.  I was an impractical, irrational, hysterical teenaged girl, and he did not understand me.  And I did not understand myself.

One day, I looked around, and I had grown up.  Strangely enough, I kept having little boys.  My father was so tickled about this, he was without words.  And I was tough, no-nonsense, optimistic, and practical.  I don't remember when it happened, but my Dad's words started spilling from my mouth:  "Never quit, ever."  "There's nothing to fear except fear itself."  "Get back up and brush yourself off." "There's no crying in baseball!" (He didn't really say that, but he would have if Tom Hanks hadn't said it first)

My Dad has become the best part of me.  I have survived the cruelties of life and come out on the other side with my sanity and sense of humor intact largely because of my Daddy.  God gives you the parents that you are supposed to have, and thank God he gave me my Dad.  If strength can be inherited, I know that my Dad gave me a little of his.

And now, as his dark thick hair has turned thin and gray, he has traded his rough edges for soft one's.  He is a sweet old grandpa to his grandsons and I love him for it.

Everyday is Father's Day in my world.  I love you, Daddy...