My father died in January at the age of 91, so this is our first Christmas without him. I was going through some letters and found one that I mentioned during my dad’s funeral to illustrate his wisdom in parenting.
He would be quick to say he wasn’t a perfect parent. I’d be quick to counter, perfection isn’t required. He wrote this letter (one of only a few) following the birth of our first child, Christen, in 1984. I pulled out an excerpt that stuck in my memory the first time I read it over 30 years ago. I often say, “With parents like mine, I should have turned out better!”
The photo was taken by my mother as my father and I moved some dirt in our backyard. Wish I still had that little wheelbarrow!
Note: I would like to clarify that I never noticed the discipline slipping with my dad, but I did see evidence of unconditional love throughout his life.
A couple of months ago, I wrote a poem about my dad while thinking of how we spend years around someone and only scratch the surface. Part of the poem is below:
He was quiet, concrete, strong, and deliberate,
But often sang happy songs with a clear tenor voice.
He read slowly but knew what he read.
He was honest, even when it cost.
He loved his wife and kids, maybe imperfectly,
But he loved with his best understanding at the time.
Some have sad memories of their fathers.
Mine are not.
My only sadness? I barely knew him.