I was in Target this afternoon waiting for a prescription to be filled and killing time. I looked at all of the baby things, because that is what you do when you are going to be a Grandma, but I didn't buy anything (sorry Megan). I wandered around in Housewares and looked at lamps and then found myself standing at the greeting cards. I needed to pick up a card for my mother in law's birthday and for Father's Day so I got busy looking at cards in the birthday section. It didn't take long to find an appropriate card for my awesome mother in law and so I moved on to Father's Day cards and began looking for a great one for my father in law. I picked up one or two that just weren't quite right and then stepped back and scanned the rows for more cards. I reached for one that held promise when I got sucker punched by the card immediately to the right of the one I was reaching for. It said, " To Dad from Your Daughter." My Dad will not be here this year for Father's Day and he won't be here next year or the next and he will miss his wedding anniversary and his great grandchild's birth, and lots of family celebrations yet to come. My dad died September 27th.
I thought for a minute about picking out a great card for him and taking it to the place where we scattered his ashes or even putting it with the ashes I kept but decided against it. I decided to share some things about my Dad here instead.
My dad was a Presbyterian minister who loved teaching Christianity by the way he lived. He loved my mom with his whole heart even though he once told me, "it takes a lot of patience." He was an awesome father to my three younger brothers and me. We went on month long camping trips every summer in a pop up camper and the four kids slept on bunk beds made out of aluminum cots (yep, it worked). We saw lots of the country, slid down the sand dunes, took every free factory tour available, occasionally tied one of the boys to a tree to keep him from wandering off, and played for hours at the beach. We all learned to ride bikes and drive cars and even to parallel park with Dad in the passenger seat. He could fix anything from holes in live Christmas trees to broken hearts. He rejoiced with every success we had and comforted us and showed us the way when we stumbled or when we failed. He attended baseball games, diving meets, school plays, band concerts and science fairs. He was a GREAT father. He preformed the marriage ceremonies for my brothers but was just MY dad when I was married which was exactly what I wanted! He taught my brothers how to be fathers by his example, and they are great fathers. He baptized each of his grandchildren and got choked up with emotion as he did so but this is what he did anytime he baptized a baby. He played with his grandchildren, taught them how to carve pumpkins, clean up the kitchen as you go when cooking, and how to cheat playing Boggle. He took them to the circus, rocked them when they had an ear infection and told them exaggerated stories about their parents. He married my daughter, his first Grandchild, and he cried. He taught us all how to die and we cried.
I decided I don't need a card to tell him how much I loved him, how much we loved him; he knows. Each of us is who we are because of the example he led. June 19th is Father's Day this year. I think I will bake a chocolate cake with penuche icing (his favorite) and take a piece to my mom and we can talk about how much he would have enjoyed it.
Happy Father's Day Dad, I miss you!!