Today is Father’s Day. For some it is nothing more than an obligation, a Hallmark holiday, or a day of elevated pain. For me it is an opportunity for gratitude, and this year as the news is fresh with stories of children being ripped from the arms of their parents I can’t help but acknowledge how fortunate I have been to have spent a happy childhood in the sunlight of my Father’s love.
I remember when I was two or three years old a thunderstorms knocked the power out in our neighborhood. We turned on flashlights and set up candles while my dad entertained us by acting out nursery rhymes and telling funny stories.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. He fell for us and the walls of our home shook with a laughter that seemed to drown out the thunder.
I remember in the days before cell phones my family road tripped once or twice a year. Whether we were visiting family in New Orleans, going to Disney World, or camping close to home we could always count on car trouble.
I don’t think I appreciated how stressful it is to breakdown on the side of the road with a car load of kids until I became a parent. My dad calmly changed tires, and hatched a hundred plans to get us off the road and safely to our destination.
I remember spending hours trail running with my dad during middle and high school. He taught me how to build endurance. First half a mile, then ¾ of a mile, then a mile. Before I knew it we were running 5k’s and adding more and more mileage to our runs. I loved those quiet hours out in nature chatting about whatever ran through our heads.
I remember all the times he has done the things that I couldn’t have asked anyone else to do for me. Every year during college and even in the years after school when I was single, he was there to help me move when my housing situation changed.
I remember the look on his face when we told him he was going to be a grandpa, and the electricity in the room when he met his grandson for the first time.
My parents have had one of those seasons when nothing goes as planned. My dad retired after working for the same company for over thirty years with dreams of traveling the world and spending time with his grandchildren.
Around that same time my mom’s health started to fall apart. Cancer and glaucoma have had her in and out of the hospital and weaker than I’ve ever seen her. He has come home and become a nurse, driving her to doctor’s appointments, steering her thoughts towards hope and positivity, and attempting to nurture her back to health.
He’s still doing his best to keep his cool, get issues fixed, and get his family back on the road. I have always been instructed by his relentless brand of endurance and I continue to be today. I love you Dad, even though I’m far away I’m celebrating you today!