How will you celebrate Father’s Day?
I don’t. No I don’t celebrate Father’s Day and haven’t since I was in my early 20’s when my father passed away. Oh sure I celebrate my son who is a fantastic father (and now grandfather!) but I have not celebrated MY father in far too long.
It’s interesting in that I grew with my father around and yet, I’m not sure how well I really knew him. I do know that he was a man that was very well respected in his community and his work. But who was he as a man, as a father?
My sister who is older than I explained to me that she felt he was somewhat cold. That perhaps he and my mother did not necessarily want to have children. She felt that they were too much in love to give us some of what we needed.
I’ve thought a lot about our family life in the past few years, though not exactly sure why. But the thing is that it has only really been recently that I began to understand what my sister was saying.
I remember watching them sometimes in true amazement. While we, as kids, rarely got hugs and kisses from the two of them I recall little touches and glances between the two of them, that even back then I knew, or I suppose felt, what they meant. They were in love. Very much in love and at least that is one legacy they left for us. To know what true love looks like.
So who was he? This man that I am very much a part of? Yes he was very much the educator, scholar, community leader and yes people did respect him and look up to him.
But he was also a carpenter and loved to build things. He was also an artist which does not always go well with being a scientist. But he was very artistic and I still have several things of his that he did. He loved gardening and especially growing orchids. I knew he liked the Giants baseball team of back then and would listen to the games – on his transistor radio – while working in the garage or the yard. I also know that he also loved to get in the car with my mother and just drive (which I do believe to be hereditary) and I know he liked a beer when it was hot out.
He was a prolific writer, though his handwriting was absolutely terrible. In the early 1960’s while living overseas in Indonesia both he and my mother would write letters to their friends back home. So many times have I sat down and read those letters telling of his, or their or our adventures. They were beautifully written with lovely descriptions of what he saw and heard; of the people he met; and the things we did. Those letters have always given me a glimpse into a part of my father that I don’t think I ever really knew.
He was a passionate man, I know that. However, his passion was fairly quiet. When he felt strongly about something he would not just talk about it he would work to change it or make it better.
My son was the only grandchild that he got to meet. It was fun to watch them together as he treated my son like a little man instead of a baby. He would read to him but not in that baby voice so many of us use. He would talk to my son while they were in the yard gardening and tell him what he was doing and what the pretty flowers were. My son would always listen intently on what my father would be telling him.
I’ve often wondered what my relationship with my mother would have been had my father lived longer than he did. After a few (ok, quite a few) problem years, my mother and I eventually became very close. But I’m not so sure that would have happened had my father lived. I believe they would have eventually had a wonderful retirement together in which they traveled the world. That, however, was not to be.
I talk little of my parents. Perhaps because I’m not sure how well I knew them. Especially my father. He passed away when I was a mere 21 years of age. No I was not fully aware of how precious our parents can be to us and how little time I was to have with him. In all honesty I don’t believe that truly hit me until several years later.
I know he loved us…his three girls. And I know he would have been proud of each and every one of us. But he did not necessarily know how to show that love. It just wasn’t easy for him and I’m sure that had much to do with his upbringing.
I miss him, my father. I seem to be thinking of him more and more these days. And the more I think of him the more I miss him.
Do I celebrate Father’s Day? No I have not done so in my years and I probably never will. But for those of you out there who still have their fathers around please take some time to tell them how much they mean to you.
Is your father still alive? Do you celebrate him? Not just on Father’s Day but throughout the year?