The Gift of My Father


*Note to Readers: I wrote this post nearly two years ago to the day. Things haven’t changed and if there was any way on earth possible, this is the gift I would choose to share with you.

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 ever known.

My grandmother waited 36 years before delivering her, “only begotten son” on a snowy Christmas dusk.  It was near a cold, dark bay of Michigan during 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 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 young 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.”  Akin to 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 faint kisses upon damp foreheads.   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, me and my father sat in a puffy, padded booth on a western patio. Surrounding us was the warmth of a golden desert sun setting deep into cocoa sand of a saguaro cactus land.  We talked for hours about nothing, telling stories while sharing jokes.  I sipped red wine from a glass of clear.  He drank more.  Older teeth opened wide revealing burgundy red.  I giggled, he laughed.  A head of thick hair…now grey, tossed back…like always…

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

An Old-Fashioned Christmas Exhibit

Happy Christmas…..

17 thoughts on “The Gift of My Father

  1. When I saw the title earlier Kim, I decided to wait until I had the proper amount of time to read this. What a nice tribute. I fully understand the sentiment. Our fathers gave us so much, just by being there for us. Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bless you for your words and warm heart, Dan. I’m missing my father this year as he is in Arizona and I’m in St. Louis. Thankfully, my memories are held forever in my heart plus we’ll be Skyping this year. 😊❤️🎄

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kim, your story really resonated with me, and brought a few tears. You are so blessed to still have your dad. Your stories reminded me of my meek and kind father who died much too young, 24 years ago almost now. It’s wonderful to hear how much you cherish your dad. And I’d forgotten he lives in Arizona, where I’m headed next week for the winter. If you happen to go visit him in the next 2 months, do let me know! xo 🙂 Merry Christmas again my friend. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merry Christmas Blessings, Sally. Wishing you a happy, healthy and successful New Year with tremendous gratitude for your thoughtful words in Reblogging my post. A great and valued friend you’ve been to me, who I cherish with all of my heart. Much love to you, Sally. ❤️❣🎄

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  3. What a wonderful tribute to your father, Kim. My dad was almost 83 when he passed away back in 1980, but I think of him often. He was always there when we needed him. May you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and New Year 2016. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bless you for your kind words, Patricia. My father is 83 today, on Christmas Day!Waiting patiently to call him with ‘Merry Birthday’ wishes! So lucky you are too, to have warm and treasured memories of your own father. Priceless! Happy Holidays with many thanks to you for your good wishes.

      Liked by 1 person

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