June 20, 2010

Memories With My Daddy

Posted in Watermarks in Progress at 3:49 pm by Tamara

One of my earliest memories of my dad is him explaining to me how two of his siblings could have the same birthday and not be the same age.  It completely befuddled me, and he patiently sat down in front of my little whiteboard with me and drew circles to represent the years passing in between their birthdays.  He sat with me a long time until I finally understood, and I knew I was a priority to him.

****

I remember asking when I was about five or so, “Daddy, is God everywhere?”

“Yes,”

“Well, then is God in Satan?”

Of course, he had a great explanation about the difference between being present and being IN something, but I remember my dad telling that story years later, and seeming proud that I thought deeply about things.

****

I remember a day when I was seven or and had to stay home because I was sick.  Dad was working on his car, and since Cristi and Nate were off having fun I wandered forlornly out to talk to him.  He stopped working and patiently listened to my quivery-lipped woes of feeling icky and having nothing to do.

“Well,” he offered after some thought, “How would you like to watch a new movie?”  My heart did a little leap of excitement at this.  To get to watch a movie by myself, before Cristi and Nate could, was an unheard of thrill.

“What’s it about?” I asked, and I remember his exact words:  “Well, it’s about a fox and a pretty lady….”

Oh course, I loved anything with a pretty lady, and so Dad came inside and got me all set with a blanket and the animated version of “Robin Hood,” which I love to this day.

****

One day I was riding my bike and decided to go a little further than I usually did.  I ran into a gang of boys who taunted me from across the street, telling me to give them my bike.  I turned around, raced back home, and told my dad about them.  Without hesitation, he got his bike out and rode back to that street.  He approached those boys and told them in no uncertain terms that they were to leave his daughter alone from now on, or else.  One of the boys was holding a shovel and said something threatening.  I don’t remember what my dad said, but I vividly remember the steely look in his eyes, and the way that boy looked up at him and backed right down.  I’d never felt so safe and so proud he was my daddy.

****

Mom and Dad took turns every week taking each of us on a special outing alone.  Every third week we’d go out alone with Dad, and then in three weeks with Mom.  They always let us choose what we wanted to do, and once I told Dad I wanted to go to the Disney Store.  He took me and let me pick something out—I choose a porcelain Sleeping Beauty doll.  I have it to this day, sitting on my shelf.  Those outings made me feel so loved and important, and assured that I’d always have a chance to have Mom or Dad’s undivided attention to talk, feel special, and just be together.

****

My sister Cristi had always prayed for a horse, and heaven knows the power of a child’s prayers: after years of saying “no,” my parents bought us a horse.  Dad’s hobby for years had been drag racing the ’57 Chevy Bel Air he built in high school, but suddenly all three of us kids were involved in a horseback riding group that practiced all day every Saturday year-round.  So, without a word of complaint, Dad traded Saturday races for pre-dawn alarm clocks and spending all day in the heat and cold watching us ride.  As we drove out in the pink of early morning to pick up the horse, we’d listen to “Car Talk” and he’d let me pick his brain about everything from doctrine to relationships.  And not only did he give up his passion to be there supporting, encouraging, and helping us, he traded his passion for countless hours spent mucking manure out of a horse stall.  Now THAT is love.   : )  Now I’m so proud to see him back at racing, and once again steadily adding to the trophy collection that is taking over our house.

****

Of course, in my rebellious, angry teenager years, I’d stomp off to my room, slam the door, and throw myself on the bed.  After a little while, Dad would come down and knock.  I’d “mumph” a come-in, and he’d come sit on the bed and gently, lovingly tell me the truth I didn’t want to hear, or was afraid to hear.  I’d argue with him, usually through tears, and he didn’t get intimidated or frustrated, he’d just patiently tell me the truth again and again until finally I’d crumple and stop fighting it.  And he always had a hug ready then.

****

I remember sitting around the dinner table with the family and having entire conversations all in movie quotes.

“And so, I stop crying.  It takes, ELEVEN GYEARS!”

“Thank you, Rosa.”

“You look great in red, have I told you that?

“Get a haircut….”

“As you wiiiiiishhhhh.”

And then there were the dinner-time puns…..

****

I remember Dad serving communion before our wedding, just with our families and the bridal party, serving the bread and wine with his strong hands and reminding us that Jesus is always the central point of our lives.  I remember standing in the stairwell with him, waiting to enter the church, and I remember what he whispered to me right as they opened the doors (that’s for us to know :P).  I remember him speaking during the wedding and quoting the favorite family movie line “Why you want to leeeeave me??”

But don’t worry, Daddy, no matter how far away God calls us, I’m always your little girl who adores you more than I can say.  You’ve consistently pointed our family to Jesus in words and actions, and we couldn’t love, appreciate, and respect you more.  Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

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2 Comments »

  1. Tim said,

    It’s easy to be a dad when you have great kids.

  2. Mom said,

    That is a beautiful, inspiring tribute to your awesome dad! Thanks for writing and sharing it.

    Also a lovely picture of the two of you!


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