My father and I…we loved each other. We really didn’t get along.
My husband once made the mistake of saying that the reason my father and I fought so much is because we were so damn much alike. He did escape with his life. Barely. And in hindsight, as usual, he was right. (Don’t tell him I said that.)
But the last promise I made my Mom before she died is that I would try to get along with my Dad. By golly, I did my best for the next six years to get along with the hard-headed, stoic, tough son of a gun that was my father.
Four years ago today, my Dad left this place for the next journey. We “got along” and we respected each other but we never really got close. He was a tough man to know.
My mother taught me warmth, and hugs, and love, and listening even when you want to go to sleep. She taught me to laugh until I snorted… at myself. She taught me to stop and look at the clouds and the stars. She taught me to walk in the rain. My mother taught me how to use my heart.
My Dad taught me another set of lessons. When the shit hits the proverbial fan, these are the things I can still hear my father saying in my head.
“Don’t jerk the wheel.”
“This is how you ….”
“Righty tighty. Lefty loosy.”
“Watch out for what is down the road.”
“Are you waiting on the cavalry?”
“Yes. Your ass looks big in that.”
“Honey. Just stop and look and what you are doing.”
“Don’t ever point a gun at something you don’t intend to kill. Now exhale when you pull the trigger.”
“My football game is on. You figure it out.”
“There is nothing wrong with your feet. Stand on them.”
“God damnit. Shut up and calm down.”
“YOU. ARE. OK.”
Dad taught me to use my head. He taught me to stay calm and trust myself. He taught me that I could count on me. He taught me I would (always) be O.K.
I hope to pass that lessons on to both of my kids.
I never said it while you were here…Thanks Dad. I couldn’t have done any of this without you.