Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a DADLast year I told you about several of the amazing men in our family. This year I want to just concentrate on two of them: Curtis Dale and Pete Darnall. Curt is my father and Pete is the father of my children. Both have been excellent in the role of Daddy!
The quotes I have included at the start and end of this posting are from a pillow and a picture that my daughters have given to their father over the years. It very much sums up how I feel a man should make his wife and children feel about him.
Both my father and my husband were career Air Force officers. This meant a lot of moving, a lot of travel, and a lot of time without Dad around the house. But, in part due to the wisdom of these men, life went on relatively smooth whether they were home or halfway around the world. Part of their wisdom was in knowing that Mom needed to be in charge of the kids and the house, even if Dad was the head of the family.
My dad taught me many things. Some by example, some by instruction, and some through a combination of the two. My husband has also taught our daughters and grandchildren.
Thanks to Dad I have a great love for the history of WWII in the Pacific. I adore both the fact and fiction accounts available through books, movies, and now the Internet. Thanks to my father and my husband being in the Air Force, I have been privileged to visit the "bookends", so to speak, of the American participation in the War in the Pacific. While I was a teenager my father was stationed in Hawaii. Then, when our own children were pre-teens, my husband got assigned to Japan. Both were priceless opportunities to learn and enjoy. Adventures I shall never forget. Our daughters will also retain lifelong memories of our time in Japan.
My father also taught me to write. He started by editing my papers in school. He would bleed red all over them. He also taught me to write letters. Letters to friends. Letters to family. Letters to the editor. Because of all he taught me growing up and the encouragement he gave me when I wrote letters to the editor as an adult, I was brave enough to write for the Officers' Wives' magazines at numerous military bases where we lived. This eventually led to my applying for an online job as an editor and writer for a neighborhood newsletter. My husband also assisted me in this endeavor when he helped me compile my resume and write a letter of intent. Both of these wonderful men celebrated my success when I won the position! My first . . . and only . . . PAYING job as a writer.
It was my husband who first came up with the idea of a political website that eventually grew into WoolyMammoth.Org and it is my father who enabled me to carry on with it when it became impossible for my husband to write with me. Between the two of them I have gained the experience and confidence to become the chief writer and editor for WMO. Without them helping me in the beginning and even now when I founder a bit, I would not be able to carry it on. My father taught me a love of politics. My husband encouraged me to become active in my dissent.
My father also taught me how to roast a Thanksgiving turkey. A skill much appreciated by my husband, my children, and now my grandchildren. He also taught my husband a much needed skill to complement mine . . . that of knowing how to carve and eventually pick clean a turkey carcass. A job my children and grandchildren are happy to help him with! We are a long line of turkey pickers. I remember doing it when my father's mother would visit over the holidays and now my own grandchildren do it in our home. One of the real joys of a holiday meal is the casual visiting after the feast when packing away the leftovers and nibbling as Pete carves up the remaining turkey.
My husband is not only a great father, he is an excellent grandfather. His love for his children and grandchildren seems to know no bounds. He opens his heart and our home to our children and grandchildren when need arises. My father has done the same for his children and grandchildren.
I very much feel that an important part of being a father and a dad is about being a husband. I know single fathers can get the job done and often do it quite well, but I think teamwork on parenting was the heavenly plan and it consequently works out best, when done properly. But, marriage and parenting both need their roots to be based in love and respect. If these ingredients are missing it just doesn't work. My father and my husband have strived to offer both to their families. For which I am most grateful.
Something I learned from my father, who I know learned it from his father, was that a woman, wife, and mother is worthy of being treated with respect. My husband worked to teach this same lesson to our daughters and he now works to teach it to our granddaughters and our grandson. I think this is a lesson our society needs to revisit. I think respect breeds courtesy and the lack thereof breeds contempt, and where there is contempt there can be only contention. Not a good basis for familial bliss.
Anyway, as we move up towards the celebration of Father's Day, I want two very important men in my life to know that they are much loved. I want them to know how much I appreciate all they have done for me and for our extended families. Dad and Pete, y'all are oh so very special! May the Lord bless you both with much happiness in the future.
Take a little time this coming weekend to tell the special men in your life that you treasure them. Remind your husband of the joy you shared with the birth of your children. Call Dad and reminisce about some favorite times growing up. If your grandfather is still around, send him a card and thank him for teaching you about wildflowers. Let your elderly neighbor know how much you appreciate him stepping in when you needed help finishing a home project and he had the necessary skills and tools.
If you are a father or grandfather, enjoy your very special day! God bless you and keep you.
Dad, You are someone to look up to, no matter how tall I have grown.© Suzann C. Darnall, JUNE 2013