My Father, My ……

So, on this Father’s Day (June 15, 2014), I wanted to write something about my Dad that would encapsulate all that he has meant and does mean to me. It’s hard to do so in a few lines and may even be difficult to do in a few paragraphs. But, it still is something that means a lot to me to put it in words because I don’t feel that I have done enough of that.

My Father, my provider And playmate

As a young child, my father worked all kinds of different jobs. My earliest memories are of living in San Antonio, Texas and that he was gone pretty much all the time except at night. I don’t remember much other than he was always in a uniform of some kind and always tired but when he was home, we used to have so much fun playing together. It was my father that turned me on to bowling and football. We spent Saturday afternoons watching the Professional Bowler’s Assocation on ABC Wide World of Sports (man, that thing hasn’t been around for a while now) and Sundays watching Dallas Cowboys football games. Dad took me out with him to his bowling nights and we would go afterwards to a place called Capparelli’s Pizza (no idea if it’s even around anymore).

my father, my mentor and leader

Between my kindergarten and first grade years, we moved to Abilene, Texas. We were living with my maternal grandparents (R.I.P. Mam-maw and Pap-paw, I still love and miss you both dearly). While we moved into a house shortly afterwards, I remember Dad always worked just as hard at whatever job he might have been doing. Sometimes he (and Mom too) were working day and night. But, when Dad was home, he was definitely the man of the house and was the unquestioned leader. That’s not to discount Mom’s leadership role (which was just as strong) but Dad was Dad and we knew it. Dad was stern with my brother and I but always still found time to play with us doing jigsaw puzzles, board games, and many other things. I wanted to be like him, he was so strong and nothing seemed to bother him (except us kids of course).

my father, my enemy

As with most kids, Dad isn’t always the kind, gentle, benevolent individual of lore. When I was a teenager, Dad and me fought, sometimes daily. I was growing up and Dad was growing old. What I didn’t see at the time is that some of this was just normal coming of age behavior for me and Dad learning to accept me as my own person. Although the fights became very intense at times, I never doubted that Dad loved me very much and I loved him too. But we had a very adversarial relationship for most of my teen years, something I would later regret monumentally.

My father, my friend

As I finished high school and began to make my own way, my Dad was of ultimate support. He never really held my hand but I never doubted that I had a place to go and somewhere to hide. I stayed with my parents off and on into my mid-20’s and I am forever grateful that I had that time to decide how I wanted to handle my life. More than any other single thing, it was something I wanted to be able to say for my own children, if and when I had them, is that I would always do that for them. I don’t know if he WANTED to have me into my late 20’s, but if he didn’t want to, he kept pretty quiet about it.

Now, after having lived on my own and away from family for 20+ years, had my own family, and struggled to meet the daily requirements, I appreciate more than ever what my father did for me. I know that not every thing was right, and many things I thought were wrong were not. I know every day that I have a father that loves me even when it seemed like he didn’t and I know that I love my father, even when I thought I didn’t.

Dad, I know I don’t say it enough but I love you with all my heart and would have wished for no different. It was and has been as it was supposed to be and if I were to choose a father over again, I’d still choose you.

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