Happy Father’s Day Dad

Home.

Around this time last year Tom, my half brother from my dad’s first marriage, died from Lou Gehrig’s disease.

I flew up to meet my sister and my dad for the funeral in New Jersey.  My dad had been staying with good friends and neighbors from the street on which I grew up while he visited Tom in his last days.  After the funeral, my dad and I went back to our neighbors’ house to talk with them before we went out to dinner.  Then I asked him if we could walk over to “our old house” so I could take a look.  I hadn’t seen it for eight years.  He said “sure”.

We walked over and as some of you may have noticed when you have revisited your old childhood home(s), it wasn’t quite what I remembered.  It wasn’t nearly as tidy as my parents had kept it.  It wasn’t quite as large either.  But it was still “home” after all these years.

My dad said “no” to a lot of offers for promotions and pay increases so my sister and I could stay in that house throughout our childhood.  He drove a very long commute to keep us there.  I have only begun to appreciate that sacrifice of time as I have watched my husband do the same for our family over the years.

As we walked around the house recalling memories together I soaked up the expression on my dad’s face.  Looking back brought a smile to his face, the memories were a joy and it was probably a soothing balm in the midst of a grief filled time.  He loved that home and he loved “us” in it.  In his eyes I felt like I saw the contentedness he felt there.  He had his home and he had his family.  And it was good.

With each passing year as an adult and as a parent, I think I “get” my parents a little more. I think I grasp a little more understanding of what it was to be my dad back then when we were all together in that house.

I more deeply appreciate our conversations at the kitchen table in that home as we discussed a good book or music.  I long to create the depth of relationship that comes with those connections with my kids now.  I now share an understanding of the hard work it required to make that house a home and support  a family so we could stay in that home.

I can offer my dad a grace I couldn’t before because I had no idea how rewarding and yet exhausting “home life” can be.  My dad’s generosity with his hard earned money is all the more appreciated as we try to support our family.  I “get” the joy of being able to give our kids experiences and things because you just love them so much.

Thank you Dad for all you did to make our house a home.  I know it was hard work and took a lot of time to provide for us.   I appreciate how open handed you were with all that was yours.   Thank you for being content with being a “family man”.

Happy Father’s Day.  I love you.

 

 

 

 

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