I put off my father's day blog because I needed a little extra time to sort out how I wanted to record this. I've had the privilege of reading a variety of posts that dealt with recognizing many wonderful fathers and husbands. Here is my contribution:
If we described my mom as distant, uninterested and detached, we could easily describe my dad as committed and distracted. Hampered by the FAA's constant demands for shift work that would have made a saint weep for sleep, my father spent at least half of his off time recovering from sleep deprivation. When my father was available, he could, with one glance sort the slackers from the achievers and deal with them accordingly. He was steadfast, predictable and unconcerned with the softer emotions. His moral compass was guided by logic, outcomes and the desire to raise unspoiled kids.
When my mother determined to go to college, it was my dad that stepped up to the plate and taught me to cook. He made a mess of braiding my hair, and made my ability to understand math his life's purpose for the entire fifth grade. Unhampered by little niceties like compassion and patience, he pushed his standards with an unwavering insistence. He taught me to read schematics, fix a car, cook a steak, understand football and enjoy fishing. During high school, one of my aptitude tests indicated that I should be an jet engine mechanic. This was based on my tool recognition and my understanding of engine systems.
He was the exact opposite of my mother, in many ways. When they separated and divorced, it was my dad that remained in contact with me... My dad that helped me plan my wedding to TOG (which my mother crashed)... My dad that became the stable influence for my kids. My dad that watched K1 and K2 while I was in the hospital delivering K3.
I called him on Father's day when he got back in town, and we had a pretty good conversation. I did not laugh when he said he was turning into a crotchety old bastard. Some people might have leaped on that and affirmed it... I just let it go. But when he told me I was like my mother... things heated up a little! Last night, he called me back to say he misspoke... that I was stubborn like my mother and that's where the resemblance ended. He shared a story my mom shared with him after their divorce and how one gentleman she's been dating for a few months asked her to marry him. He had a daughter and my mom told my dad she turned him down... because she didn't want to be anyone's mother. It made my dad sad to hear it, but he said it reaffirmed to him that he still wanted to be an involved parent, even with adult kids.
I'm fortunate to have had my dad all these years. He's not a saint, not perfect, sometimes not even tolerable. He has rusty social graces, salty language, pants that can't stay up (no butt) and defines the word "opinionated". But he's also dedicated, honest, forthright and nowadays... loving. The one charactoristic my dad had that set him apart was "intent". He wanted to parent well and so he did, using the skills that he had. He gave me some great skills and experiences and taught me some very meaningful things. I'm really, really lucky to have him for a dad.
Happy (belated) Father's Day!