I now understand what Dad meant. For when Mother's Day comes around, I want the presence of my children surrounding me with their love. I know as they have families, it might not always work out on the day, but the day really doesn't matter does it? Father's and Mother's Day can be any time.
My dad is no longer with us - he passed away 7 years ago in his sleep. What a blessing, I think, but I also think Dad hid his pains and symptoms that he knew one day would take his life away. Heart trouble, though not a diagnosis of death, was surely the culprit.
However, my dad left me many gifts, some I use, and some I treasure today.
- Dad had some of the corniest jokes - I heard them a million times it seems and as a teenager I was always embarrassed by them when friends were around. But teenagers are like that.
- We ALWAYS sat at the table to eat our meals. And... Walter Cronkite was in the background. Now some folks think - turn the tv off, but that is the way we talked about current events in our home. And Dad always had an opinion about them, but he also explained what was going on.
- Yankee food. I didn't know it at the time, because our meals were our meals, but Boston Baked Beans, with the brown bread out of the can, and weiners were a weekly meal at our house. It wasn't until my late teens that I had southern cornbread (not Jiffy mix). We also had creamed chipped beef on toast (I think that is a "Yankee meal").
- Dad had a few quotes he would share with us... "to thine own self be true", "don't take any wooden nickels", "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself (FDR), and others that I can't remember at the moment!
- Dad was a depression child - born in 1929, hard times were a part of growing up. Money was something he thought of as "it comes, it goes" so he wasn't much of a saver. His phiiosophy was "I didn't have it growing up, I can't take it with me, so let's enjoy what we have now and worry about tomorrow when it comes." If he had a windfall of money (like when he won a small amount with the lottery) - he took us all on a vacation. Could he have squirreled it away? Sure, but we would have never had a memory of that. The vacation, though, is a highlight that my children remember.
- When it came to fashion, my father loved BRIGHT and FLASHY - no conservative outfits for him. He wanted to make a statement with a crazy tie, plaid pants with a striped shirt. Yep, that was my dad.
I hope that the gifts my father gave me are ones that I can live up to and pass on to my children, and to others. My gift to him, even today, is to be thankful to who he was and how he shaped me to be who I am today.