The Gift of My Father


An Old-Fashioned Christmas Exhibit

If I could give all I knew one present for Christmas it would be an itty-bitty piece of my father.  I suppose many daughters think this about their own.  The lucky ones.  Mine is like no other man I’ve ever met or known before.

My grandmother waited 36 years before delivering her, “only begotten son” on a snowy Christmas dusk in the year of 1932.  Five older sisters awaited his arrival, while an older angelic brother looked down from Heaven above. A younger sister of blonde and a baby brother lost were born during the years that came shortly afterward.  My father was always the only brother…his parent’s only son.

A humble man who has the kindest soul, my father is always loyal and true.  He’s taught me subtle, wise lessons in life.  As a girl, I watched his gentle mannerisms while listening to his quiet words, soaking up hushed teachings like a dry sponge dropped in a Michigan millpond.  One of my father’s most repeated  lessons was, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”  Much like the Bible, I guess.  It has stayed with me forever and always. Shortly after my own two boys learned their first few words, I passed it down to them together with tender hugs and kisses.   They are having their own little ones, now.  If the cycle continues it will be a lesson for their children as well.  It is the most important one of all.

Of course there were other teachings to be learned.  Important mental notes written in imaginary pencil from my father for me to follow.  Like, “How to live life with a positive attitude in spite of adversity,” or “To smile when your heart hurts,” and, “It’s okay to cry.”

Once, when one of my sons was very young and very ill,  I called my father in Arizona all the way from St. Louis.  Choking back tears I remember saying, “Dad, I don’t think I’m going to have him very long.”  He paused for a few seconds before finding the right words.  I don’t remember exactly what they were, but together with his quiet tone, my father calmed me down.  I hold that single moment deep down inside of me.  Today, it is here within the whole of my chest…near the inside of my heart where it will stay for all eternity.

My father has taught me lessons my whole life through.  We are both older now.  It seems he is my guide and advisor only if I ask him to be.  We value our time together more than ever before.  Like children on a playground who have been friends all of their lives or even before, we laugh and play.  Sometimes we swing on a rubber tire hanging from an old frayed, cream-colored rope.  Like babes again, feeling our heads dangling in the wind! Other days we walk slowly along a new path, discovering speckled rocks to help us find our way.

Last night, I sat close to my dad in a puffy padded booth on a dusty patio.  Surrounding us was the warmth of a golden desert sun setting deep into the cocoa sand of a saguaro cactus land.  We talked for hours about nothing, telling old stories while sharing silly jokes.  I sipped cheap red wine from a glass bowl of clear.  He drank a little more.  Older teeth opened wide revealing burgundy red.  I giggled, he laughed.  A head of thick grey hair…formerly jet black, tossed back.  Like always…..

“That’s my father,” I whispered aloud,  to no one except coyotes hidden in the distance of the desert there.

 

* edited from original post dated 12/21/13

39 thoughts on “The Gift of My Father

  1. Let us praise the Lord
    For his the christmas day!!
    The birthday of our savior Jesus.
    Blessing and happiness for those who believes
    Have a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!

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  2. Such a wonderful tribute to a father Kim, you obviously love each other very much.
    Yesterday my daughter told me I’m her best friend and there’s no-one she’d rather spend time with. I was very touched.It knocks away some of the self doubt. I’m sure like me, your father is wishing his daughter the Happiest Christmas ever filled with wishes come true.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

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    • Merry Christmas, David! I was so lucky to be with him last year on his 81th birthday, but missing him terribly this year. Warmed my heart to read your daughter’s message, David…”best friends.” The very best gift! Love to you and your family.

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    • My heart is so very touched by this are Reblog, Barry. I’m glad you too, thought of your father as he must have been a fine man to have such a son! My dad is every word I wrote….actually many more. :). Thank you, Barry.

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  3. What a beautiful tribute to a well deserving father. As he watches his little girl from the stars above I am sure he is still comforting your soul. What a joy it must be for you to know his essence will always be a part of this earth and his love will live for generations to com. Blessings to you and yours on this beautiful Christmas.

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    • Oh, Patricia, beautiful words. Please forgive me as it was not my intention to mislead you. My father celebrated his 82 birthday on Christmas Day! So true from you, Patricia, I am blessed forever and always with his “essence.” Wishing you glory in the New Year.

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  4. A truely beautiful story, the Love shared between a father and daughter.
    I could feel the emotional love in the storyline as it unfolded.
    May God bless you both and keep you safe.
    Emu

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    • Emu, special thanks as this post means so much to me. Each Christmas birthday that my father is ‘here’ I am blessed with memories of him; old and new. Gifts to me…forever. Happy New Year, Emu.

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  5. *abundant tears* No one knows to this day, something that I am planning on saying at my Dad’s service, how, when I was having a really hard time with hubby due to PTSD, my own Dad, a Vet himself and very familiar with PTSD, would listen as I cried my Heart out. He never judged hubby. He would pray, say some comforting words, words that right now I do not remember, but after I hung up with him, I felt so much better. There is one other thing that no one knows my Dad said to me. Before I married my husband, he begged me not to marry him due to he being a Vet. At the time I had NO understanding of PTSD or of the horrors of what war does to a soul. Of course I did not abide by my Father’s wishes. Yet through my marriage, I came to understand my Dad in a whole different light then if I had not married a Vietnam Vet. Healing occurred. Deep healing in my Heart. He was always there for me, a phone call away. Just yesterday as I began dialing my sister’s number, my fingers automatically began dialing his number. I crumbled on the floor in tears. Cherish your Dad when you go visit him. And God bless you for your most felt presence in my Life, as I struggle to contend with such a deep and personal loss. I do Love you. (((HUGS))) Amy

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