As Father’s Day approaches, I have been thinking about what to get for you and it is challenging to say the least. There have been years of gifts cards to Bass Pro Shop and Academy Sports because I know how much you love to fish. I think Mom has helped me pick out other gifts, as well. But sometimes I feel as if my gifts, albeit thoughtful, lack creativity. You just seem to have everything.
Honestly, giving a gift to someone who has given so much of himself is hard to do.
So my Father’s Day gift is this letter to you…
Thank you for the gift of time.
Even though you had to work as a banker year-round while we were growing up, you would take us camping. I remember you and mom trying to park the camper as we stood by. You would take your work suits, go into work, then come back to the campground for supper…and do it all again the next day.
I recall you calling out multiplication flashcards to me and helping me take math problems step by step as that was not my forte. And you spent countless hours helping my two younger brothers as their manager when they decided to pursue music on a more serious scale.
Even though you were working, getting a masters degree, and traveling at one point, you always found time for your family.
Thank you for the gift of faith.
Yes, you took us to church, but even more importantly, you have always lived out your faith. You have always had a Bible verse or spiritual truth to speak into our lives.
You have also had faith in me. When I have doubted myself or my abilities, you have always reminded me that you believe in me and that God is with me, as well.
Your spiritual walk has been a compass for my own. Your prayers for me do not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Thank you for the gift of tenacity.
I know there had to be times that you may have been afraid, but you never showed it. The winter that you were in the hospital and we had not sold our house in Arkansas, I remember your telling us that gifts may not be as plentiful on Christmas morning. Somehow you (and mom) managed, though, and I think I may have cried to see those presents because I honestly did not want you to spend the money.
And when you decided to become a college professor (even though you had a masters in business administration), you had to take some classes in addition to your full-time job. But you did it and became a well-loved and respected educator.
Thank you for the gift of unselfishness.
When I married 25 years ago and was quite homesick, you told me to call you anytime. You even said you would come get me if I ever needed you no matter the time of day even though I had moved four hours away.
When my husband was out of work for several months after having back surgery, you basically told me to get whatever our oldest needed for his dorm room and you would cover it. Your home has always been a place where I know that my family and friends are safe and cared for. I know that is because of you and mom.
Thank you for instilling in me a sense of humor.
Mom and I probably have a more similar sense of humor (i.e., Lucille Ball), but I can appreciate the fact that you are always ready with a “Dad Joke.”
Growing up, we always heard you say “Be careless” and “I resemble that” instead of “Be careful” or “I resent that”. It was funny to us because it was funny to you. And my two younger brothers always penned your jokes as “closet jokes” because when you told a typical dad joke, they would find the nearest closet and get in it as quickly as possible. Others may not find it funny, but we found it hilarious.
Actually, the funniest memories are when we would play Double Nine Dominoes and you would continue to lose and make those hilarious quips about how you were never going to catch up to us. I think it is past time for another game.
Thank you for your example.
You told us to use clean language, so you used clean language. You told us to abstain from drinking, so you did likewise. You told us to treat everyone with respect. I never saw you do any less than that. You told us to be responsible. I saw you work hard. You loved my mother well. I learned what meant to respect another person.
And thank you for all the random acts of love…
Never saying “I told you so” when I clearly fall on my face after not following your advice…
Staying on the phone with me during an anxiety attack…
Having the strength and composure to sing at my wedding and then walking me down the aisle…
Sitting by my hospital bed and rubbing my arm as I shook from anesthesia after a C-section…
And for all the other big and small things that I know I am forgetting… Thank you.
I know not everyone has the privilege to grow up with two parents that love them. I’m thankful for you, my dear Dad.
Happy Father’s Day.