In this series, I write letters to people in my life - past, present, and possibly future - without the tension of actually mailing them. See the original post about the new series for more info.
There's no lie in the idea that fathers are the first and most important men in a daughter's life. For the past 39 years, I always felt safe in the love you have for me. I can count my disappointments on one hand with plenty of fingers left to spare. Those disappointments were always short-lived because forgiveness is an automatic mechanism that operates in our relationship.
You never hid your pride in having me for a daughter. In spite of the mixed criticisms and praise from mom, I developed a confidence with roots in the love you always express. After long days of construction work... with icicles hanging from your beard... you let me know my importance every time you used your tired arms to lift me into the air with a weary yet surprisingly bright sincere smile.
As mom told, and pictures confirm, you made sure we laid in the sunlight together whenever possible. You wanted your baby girl to get enough sun, right beside your protective side.
As I grew, your protective spirit towards me never changed. I'll never forget that day in 7th grade when I got my feelings hurt at a school dance. My date ran off with other girls, and you pulled your pump-action shotgun in response. The moment of fear I felt in that instant was quickly overcome by a deep love for your regard of my young feelings. As mom talked and you fumed, I got an early lesson about not settling for less.
When I entered young adulthood, you left our home to live with another woman. You didn't call or keep in touch. I was hurt until I realized you were mostly concerned that I'd reject your decision. I was wise enough to know that sometimes children need to reach out first. I visited you there and let you know I still loved you as my precious father. I didn't judge your relationship for two reasons: (1) I was relieved that you ended the tension with mom and (2) You didn't lose an ounce of value as my beloved father. We never lost touch again - even as you eventually grew out of your new romance.
As I made the leap from girl to woman, I watched you become an amazing grandfather. I smiled with eyes full of happy tears as love for me pour into my sons. They love you with the same energy that I do, and they're immensely blessed to be a part of your life.
As you grow older, I am forced to consider the day - hopefully a day far away - that you may no longer be a part of our lives. You don't know this, but I have cried advance tears at the thought of losing you to heaven's call. As I write, I cry them again. Know this:
Whenever the moment comes that you must face your own mortality, you leave behind a daughter who still sees you as the strong, protective, loving father who lifts her into the air as an endless expression of amazing love. Heaven must have a special place for premier fathers, and I'll see you there when I arrive.
I love you daddy. You're the best of the best.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The pen is a dangerous thing. With one flick of a wayward Bic, you can leave indelible evidence of your wisdom or produce an unwanted record of your ignorance. With one stroke, you can enlighten a day or usher in storm clouds of contention.
Either way, I have a pen in my hand today. I decided to take the age-old advice to start writing letters to the people in my life. Some letters represent hopes of squashing old hurts. Some letters signify my need to express love to somebody I may have neglected over the years.
Of course these letters will never see the blue-uniformed image of a US mailman. Time and circumstance may change the way I see things. A penned letter may become permanent (perhaps damaging) evidence of an old thought kept mercilessly alive in somebody's underwear drawer.
So I’ll send them in my mind… all returned to sender for Insufficient Postage.
I suspect this series will feature a multitude of tears, fears, and cheers as forgotten memories begin flooding the pages. Names will be changed to protect the guilty and the innocent. But I’m sure if anybody knew to find me here, they’d also recognize themselves in my growing pile of returned mail.
Won’t you join me over the next several weeks?