In the spirit of Father's Day, I shall dedicate this to my dad! In the great realm of things, I must say I (along with 5 other siblings) was quite blessed having two of the best parents anyone could have. As a young girl, I knew my dad to be a very loving, caring, devoted and strong man. He worked for the telephone company all of his life. He climbed telephone poles in those days. He stayed quite fit. He was also in the Army; a Sergeant Major in rank. Paratrooper, Green Beret, Special Forces. Needless to say, he was the one to dole out discipline when needed. If my mother uttered the words, "Wait till your dad gets home," we knew we were in big trouble. I'm sure many of you have heard those words---that was back in the day where a good ass whoopin did not involve 1-800-child-abuse. I wasn't so much on the receiving end of the paddle, but I had my fair share of spanks.
No matter what, every couple of years, the six of us, mom & dad and two selected cousins hit the road for a two week vacation. Trust me when I say we were no where near rich. We drank powdered milk just like most in those days but together they managed to save enough money to take us on a traveling frenzie; sometimes east, sometimes west. At the time, we had a station wagon jam packed with kids, luggage, tent and camping gear strapped on top. They called it an adventure; we called it boring---then. Now, I relish and hold on to the memory of each one of those trips. Some memories as a young girl, some as a teenager (my personal favorite--Grand Canyon) I still hold dear to my heart. I didn't know then how those times would impact my life as an adult. What kid does? I could really tell ya some stories from some of those trips. I'll save that for another time.
My dad has literally been a great force in the person I am today. His strength has given me strength, his love and devotion has given me a huge heart to which I can only hope to pass on the my girls. I take a few things away from my mother who's love and dedication was to her children and other family. (Which is why the cousins were always included on several trips.) I know I get that from her!
My mother was with us until 2003 then passed away peacefully after fighting cancer for five years. I was fortunate enough to be there for her during her last month on this earth and what pained me more then letting her go was watching my dad let her go. It was excruciating to see the love of his life leave him. He sat, everyday, dedicated. Vigilant. Worn and exhausted. Drained and hopeless. Lost and alone was what he would say. To which I would remind him that he still had the six of us. Nothing could describe what he must have been feeling. I would lose my mother any day and feared my dad would follow her.
Thankfully, I still have my dad! We did make it through one of the toughest times any of us could have imagined. Today, I can write about this... then I couldn't even fathom it. My dad has found peace in knowing that he is doing exactly what my mother would have wanted. They always planned on traveling after we had all grown---married---and left the house. They did for a short time before mom became ill. To this day, this eighty year old strong willed, strong minded and stubborn man still travels. "It's what mom would want me to do," he tells us. "I take her with me everywhere I go."
I couldn't have been more blessed to have you as my dad and only hope that I have met your expectations as much as you have met mine. I love you Daddy!