Everyone hears the stories of what happened when the kids were left alone with dad. Most of them are funny anecdotes about how he got fooled into getting them ice cream, or how he had a mishap with the washing machine, or when he “misplaced” one of the kids during a shopping adventure to the hardware store.
The truth of what really happened is that we children got time with the other parent. So whether it resulted in fun and games, watching a football game on TV or just hanging around the house together we had moments to enjoy with dad doing the things that dads do. We were not fooling him into anything he did not want to do because he was just as happy hanging out and spending time with us.
Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not that dad was never there for us as he and my mom were parents that sometimes we thought cared too much. However, most of the time the best moments with dad were the unexpected ones. The ones that no one planned, the long talks and maybe even the things we learned without even realizing he was teaching us something.
I remember a lot of those times with my dad. Times that I thought I’d be better off outside playing with my friends but I learned how to hammer in a nail. Times that he was running on about the past but was really telling me about his life, his youth and his parents, my grandparents. Times I complained that I did not feel like helping with the lawn, the garden or the flowers but then there are all the things that I learned how to do thanks to those times together.
I fondly remember when he took my hand and we went for a walk; when he taught me how to dance; when we stood around the barbeque and he showed me how to tell if the meat was the right doneness; and when he wiped away my tears.
Then I remember the time he went into the hospital and never came home again. I hated seeing him in that bed day after day more than he hated being there. He had been my rock for so many years and I never thought that he could or would be vulnerable to anything, let alone illness.
If we look back at last week, last month, or last year, how many of us imagine that we may never savor these moments with our dad again.
So for Father’s Day, I would like to salute all the fathers that inspire us and teach us to be better people. Remember to savor each moment – they are all precious.