Father’s Day is such a mixed day of emotions for so many. If you are my age, and you still get to have your daddy in your life, you should feel so blessed. I know that circumstances are not always so happy for everyone, but I am hoping that in your lifetime, if you did not have a biological dad, some wonderful man in your life stepped up to be your father figure.
My dad is quite the character. Once I became a mom, my identity changed quite a bit, I was instantly “Cole’s mom”. Even his little friends at school greet me with sunny little “Hi Cole’s Mom!!”. I love my title so much, and Cole is the best thing about my life, so I will take it. Long before I became a mother, my mom and dad were trying to get me raised (it takes longer for some, I was hard-headed). They complain that I (with my constant companion, Cole) am sometimes just off in my car on a whim, to far away places (usually near a body of water). But truly, my parents kind of raised us with this sense of adventure.
Some of my fondest childhood memories were my parents piling my brother and I into the station wagon, and driving to some far away destination. I don’t remember much about the drives, because I have always been a car sleeper, and on several occasions my brother and I nearly killed one another fighting over the backseat real estate. I love that they were always game for an adventure, and as a mama, I love taking Cole to new places and watching the wonder on his freckled face. It is always worth the months of saving, and eating at home rather than eating out, the saying no so that we can have a big yes (Did you like what I did there, Dave Ramsey?) in the end.
Of course life with a daughter is not always so rosy, and I certainly did make them absolutely crazy. I love to go go go, but I also love to be home. My parents created the home for us that my friends all wanted to be in too. Someone told me that as Cole nears becoming a teenager, I need a deep freeze full of food, and a pool, then the children will be at my house (my parents must have known that secret too) instead of out somewhere else.
I have always adored my father, mostly by watching how he adores my mother, and my brother and I. He was, and still is, such a provider for our family, (mama too!! She always worked so hard, inside and out of our home) and while I know I made him nuts, he was one of my biggest cheerleaders (still is). I can remember the throes of being a teenager, not so in love with myself yet, and always feeling simply less than. I was being honored at some assembly with other students, and I didn’t know that our counselor had invited our parents. I remember coming out and seeing my dad in the bleachers, and knowing that he had to take off work to come, just to see me for around fifteen minutes. Now that is love. When your teenagers and icky and sassy and pouty and they shop at Goodwill all the time (my mother used to request that I simply not look homeless “those jeans. Are they dirty or what??”) and they might not love to be around you all the time, they know that you love them. My dad always told me that I was beautiful and smart, and made me feel worthy, even when I didn’t really feel like I was at all.
You see, the beautiful things about dads is that they have so much power simply by being there. You may think that your kids don’t notice the little things that you do, but they do. They catalog and internalize the things that you say, and they way that you treat them, and especially the way they see you treating other people (that is a biggie for my Cole) . My dad is never too busy to help me and Cole, and a friend in need. Since I have lots of amazing single mamas in my life, I know that not all of their little sweeties get the opportunity to spend a lot of time with their dads (because of choices those dads have made, we are very “pro dad” in our small group), but the power of an involved dad, or father figure does so much for kids’ self worth and self-esteem, particularly for girls. If a little girl gets the attention and worth she needs from her dad or father figure, she won’t go looking for it in less healthy places. This is unnerving to some people who do not understand why I am making a choice to be single as a single mama. This is a different chapter for me, and I am choosing to not muddy the waters for Cole. He is blessed to have a mama, a daddy, a Nana and a Papa, and a tribe of other cheerleaders in his life. I realize his little story is different from others, so this is the choice I am making for right now.
I realize this posting is a day late for father’s day (because parenting won last night,
and storytime led to mommy sleeping time, ha) but I celebrate my sweet dad every day, who would move absolute heaven and earth for me and Cole, no questions asked (even that one time when my parents told me specifically NOT to go to river fest in my teal green Geo Storm in Fort Smith, so of course I went, and then got a flat tire, and who did I call on my bag phone who came immediately to my rescue in downtown Fort Smith at a shady gas station? You guessed it. Wally Hudson.). Hug your daddy today and tell him what he means to you, and celebrate them every day, not just father’s day!