I have so many memories that come to mind when I think of my dad.
One summer when I was about 7 he was leaving for a fishing season. He was a commercial fisherman and he’d be gone all summer out in our boat with his crew working long, hard hours; loving the ocean and the fight for the fish. This particular time he shaved off his ‘always there’ beard and was just going to let it grow back all summer. He woke me up to hug and kiss and say goodbye. In the fog of waking up, I didn’t know who he was. And then I was fully awake and I still didn’t know who he was, his beard was gone.
Growing up we had a carport with a flat roof. The winters in Alaska with heavy snow and a little flat roofed carport do not go well together. We had to shovel the roof off many times during the winter. It was a chore with a sweet reward at the end. After it was shoveled clean my dad would pick me up in his strong arms and he would throw me into the air and for a split second I was flying. And then there was the free fall and the landing in the soft mountain of snow in the yard. And then the climbing out of the mountain of snow, with a smile plastered to my face looking up at my dad still standing on the roof he had just flung me from.
He made up songs about anything, anytime; all the time. I can still sing you the song he sang as we drove to Pay-N-Save.
There are a lot to choose from.
Today I thought of one that surprised me in it’s returning to my mind. I had forgotten about it.
1990 was a strange and unusual year. I was 12, which automatically makes pretty much everything strange and unusual. We moved to Indiana which is a strange and unusual place, also impossibly flat when one has just moved from Alaska. Dad was in a very intense one year grad school program so it was strange and unusual when he actually surfaced from under the piles of books and papers and thesis writing.
It had been a hard day at school for me. I was upset about something. I don’t remember what exactly, but it probably had to do with the fact I was 12, the new kid at school and hated Indiana. I remember my dad sitting in his recliner and me sitting in his lap. He probably was in the middle of reading or studying because he was always in the middle of reading and studying that year.
But he put that aside and just sat with me. He listened and he told me a story from his high school days. I forget some of the details of the story. But I remember thinking that this struggle of growing up, of not understanding how this game is played, of feeling like you don’t fit in; it is everyone’s struggle at some point.
I remember feeling that I wanted the moment to last a little bit longer. Probably because I missed him a little bit; we all did, and he missed us. And probably because I liked being in a rocking chair with my dad holding me. Looking back on this memory now as an adult and really understanding all my dad was doing that year makes it all the sweeter. The pressure, the deadlines, assignments hanging over his head, being a husband, a dad; it is a lot. And that one day for those few minutes he just stopped and let me sit on his lap. I love you dad.
And now I have another father to adore; my husband as he fathers our son. It is amazing to see David interact with our son. How he holds him, and plays with him and talks to him and looks forward to camping and hiking and millions of other things. How every night while I sit in the rocking chair feeding our son his bottle, David lays his hand on Z’s head and prays for him. I feel so blessed, so full and overflowing. It fills my heart with so much. I love you David.
I am blessed to have a father who loves me and taught me so well.
I am blessed to have a husband; a father who loves our son and is teaching him so well.
I am blessed to have a heavenly father who loves me better than anyone.
Happy Father’s Day!