Those who know me, know I have placed my father on a very tall pedestal, and I know of nothing in my life he has done to be knocked off. So I wanted to share a few of the memories that are part of the reason he resides in such high altitudes.
Before my sister was born, my parents had a schedule. My mom rode to work in the mornings with some friends and Dad would drop me off at the babysitters (my grandmother and childless aunt). He would pick me up each evening. These short trips were full of wonderful, childish conversation, knock-knock jokes, and songs. When we arrived home each evening, Mom would be preparing dinner. After dinner, Dad would bathe me and get me ready for bed while Mom cleaned the kitchen. Both parents took turns reading to me before bed. Saturdays, Dad and I would curl up in the den to watch cartoons.
During my school years, Dad would sit to hear me read about Dick, Jane, and Sally or help me with my spelling, or my math. And he loved the history. Each evening while Mom did Mom stuff in the kitchen, I would sit on the back of the couch, legs draped over each of his shoulders, and comb his hair while outlining my day. He taught me how to ride a bike and to drive a car and shoot a rifle. He refereed during those horrible teen years when Mom and I couldn't look at each other without either shouting or crying. My Dad always told me he would never judge me as long as he knew I was doing the best I could.
When his older brothers and sisters needed help, he helped. He lent money, gave them places to stay, helped them move, lent them cars. When my cousins were in trouble, they called him instead of their own parents. When my mother's sister's husband had a stroke, my dad would spend nights at the hospital with him so my aunt could rest. When Mom's other sister's husband had DTs and had to be admitted into rehab, my dad took him. When his brother's widow needed medical attention and could not be left to live alone, she came to live with us.
Over the years, my dad has become quite an expert and funeral arrangements. He has helped to plan the funerals of my grandmother, two aunts, and four uncles.
He is physically strong, stronger than men half his age. And emotionally. He is the rock in my life, and the saviour in my mother's life. He is her life these days. He fixes her hair when he has too, helps her bathe and helps her dress, takes her shopping and makes her exercise. He cooks...something he has never wanted to do nor enjoyed. He cleans. He mops and vacuums. He tends his yard and his garden.
And he loves us. So much. He gives great hugs. And even as I approach the half century mark, he is my Daddy!