To Dad, with Love

Father's Day is hard for some of us, so don't feel obligated to read this post from me to my Dad. If you never knew your Father or don't have a great relationship with him, my hope for you today is that those Dad-wounds are on the mend and you find love to fill those holes from the ultimate Father, God.

I have mentioned before that my Dad was a preacher when I was growing up. Most of the time, I make jokes about growing up in a fishbowl or complain about the fact that we moved so much. The truth is, when I was a little girl, I never felt more proud than when Daddy stood behind the pulpit. He was so passionate when he spoke and he liked to tell jokes and family stories; he knew how to work a crowd. When one of his stories featured me, I felt a strange mixture of extreme importance and intense scrutiny. 

As I got older and we continued to move frequently, I found myself wishing that he could just take another job so we didn't have to go. I felt angry with him, but I loved him so much I didn't know what to do with the bitter feelings. I guess I mostly ignored them or took them out on other people, like my Mom. 

Now that I'm a parent however, I do not envy the choices he had to make. What do you do when you believe you're supposed to do a certain thing with your life, but you can't seem to find success doing that thing? I have the luxury as a stay-at-home Mom of not having to face life altering decisions about doing what I want versus providing (monetarily) for my family. 

As a parent, I have also learned that even though we wish our kids' lives were happy and carefree, we just can't give them everything they want. You don't want to raise insufferable brats, after all. But sometimes, you simply find yourself unable to control every single aspect of their lives. Once that reality sinks in, that their happiness is not completely up to you, you're able to extend a whole lot of grace to the folks who put in eighteen plus years raising you.

The most important thing I know about my Dad is that he loves me, heart and soul. He's not an emotional, gushy kind of guy -- far from it. But both my brother and sister, and my Mom would say the same thing, he loves us all unconditionally. That I wouldn't trade for twelve years in the same school, or brand new tennis shoes every fall, or even popularity and acceptance from the non-churchgoing kids. Dad was there for us. I'll never forget falling asleep in his lap on Sunday afternoon watching football, or the first time he let me drive the new car around the block, Thursday nights together with the Cosby show, and all the times he tried to get us to have regular, daily devotionals. 

So I just want to say thanks to him today. Thanks, Dad for sharing your heart with me. You didn't do every single thing right, but who does? You came through in all the ways that mattered most, and you will always be someone I can look up to and be proud to call mine. Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I love you!


Ron said...

What can I say, Thank you!!!

Teela said...

Nice, Janna.

Leanne said...

Very sweet post. I love the notion of "forgiving" parents too, because you're right, protecting kids from hardship isn't possible, and won't prepare them for that essential life skill of "grieving well the losses of life."