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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dad

I'm very lucky because I was not only blessed with a loving father, but also brothers who took care of me like a father. The youngest of seven children, I was raised by my brothers, sisters, and parents. Then as my sisters got married I gained brothers-in-law who also took care of me. Who am I kidding? My family still takes care of me. The baby of the family grows up, but she's always the "baby".

My dad worked hard for us. As a young girl I misinterpreted this hard work. My young mind could only assume my father loved work more than he loved me. I worry sometimes that's what my kids think about me when I leave them to go to work, but I know eventually they will understand that we work because we love our family enough to leave them.

My early memories of my dad include making hundreds of screen-printed campaign signs, stapling hundreds of rubber bands to campaign brochures and delivering them door-to-door. When he won the mayoral election, I spent as much time as I could in the city hall to be close to him. Even if he was in a meeting I couldn't attend, I was happy to be in the building because it was where he was. I rode the elevator countless times in the (then) new city hall waiting for a chance to see him. When he wasn't conducting city business, he was working a second job as an engineer. Long hours, late nights, business trips, and he still managed to read me A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and other books he thought I'd enjoy. I have the old, tattered copy on my book shelf and will always treasure it.

When I was young, this song used to come on the radio and I would cry because I felt like I didn't get to see my dad enough. Recently I heard it and I almost started crying because I realized I am often too busy to see my dad and I fear the day I won't be able to see him when I need him.


Life is difficult and supporting six children is a tall order. I'm not sure how my parents managed it (hard work and a lot of prayer?) but I will never be able to express my gratitude and respect for the sacrifices they made for us. I am not the best person on this earth, but I am a better person than I would have been without my father, that I know for sure. I hope he knows I think of him every day, even if I'm not able to speak to him or hug him. Even simple things like choosing the right word for things ("angry" instead of "mad") are reminders that my dad tried hard to make us the best people we could be, and he succeeded.  Now my kids are lucky enough to have him as a grandpa.
My dad & my oldest son Joshua, about 2008?

I love that they still play this song on the radio sometimes, because it reminds me of my dad (and my sister Jenny, who used to sing it to me when I was a little girl) and always makes me smile:



I love you, Dad. I appreciate so many things about you, I couldn't possibly name them all. I just hope you know that when I say I love you it means more than just a common phrase.

1 comment:

  1. This is so beautiful.
    I think that no matter what they do, it's the love that trumps it all. He may have worked a lot but that love was there always.
    It's awesome that you had that many siblings to take care of you too. I'm the oldest of 5 so I acted like a Mom :)
    You reminded me that I need to visit my Dad more. I'm not very good at doing that.

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