Sunday, June 16, 2013

How to Father

How to Father--a blog post on Fathers Day.

Ask my friends, and they will tell you that I have a good father.  Most of them haven't met him, he has just become legend among them.  Cuz a few of them didn't have one. Not that they didn't have a father--they just didn't have a good one.  So I tell stories of how my dad came to EVERY game I ever played in, and yelled embarrassingly at the refs, and talked to the other teams coaches afterward.  How he still talks as if I were legend.  All of this contributed to what my friends see as an unbelievably high self esteem.

Cuz. I am cool.  I am cute.  I am talented. I am smart.  I am pretty much just awesome.

And apparently--not all girls feel that way.  Even though I think my friends are just as cool, cute talented, smart and even more awesome than I--they don't feel that way about themselves.  And mostly, after years of us hashing it out--it comes down to one thing--DADS.

Clearly if your dad thinks you are awesome and treats you as such--then you believe it.  And if your dad drops the ball by mentioning your weight, or by treating your mom badly--then it sinks in--and attaches itself like a thousand sticky notes to your brain.  A faint constant reminder that you aren't good enough.

I have those same sticky notes--but not ugly mean ones that I read to myself unconsciously.  Mine say--you can do anything, look at you--you are fantastic, you are worth more than gold.

And those sticky notes are in my dad's handwriting.

He comes from good stock.  His dad was a good Dad.  From every story I ever heard from my father--it was doting on my Grandfather.  Even the stories of a being punished for doing stupid stuff.  Clear boundaries, firm follow through, and a loving touch.  That is what I know of my Dad's dad.

And me and my siblings will someday pass down stories.  Like when my Dad pinned my brother against the wall for disrespecting my mother--and told my brother in clear terms to never do that again.  And how my brother never did.  Or how my dad toted us all to my brothers' weight lifting meets, or how my dad still proudly talks of how strong and stubborn my sister was as a child with her horse, and how he took us fishing, or how my brother let a woman open the door for him and my dad lit into him so strongly that later he found my brother standing at the door holding it open for everyone.  How he taught us to use sir or mam.  How you never borrow anything and if you do, you take it back in better condition than you borrowed it.  Oh, and be honest.  Always be honest.

He is a good man.  An amazing man.  And I and my siblings are all the better for it.

If only every child were that lucky.

I love you dad,  Happy Fathers Day.