Slow and Steady Wins the Race
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, dear readers, and that has me thinking about love. I write a lot on this blog about how much I love my children, but there is an extraordinary man in my life who hasn’t gotten much press.
My dad isn’t the warm and fuzzy type. He wasn’t the kind of dad who called me princess or bounced me on his knee. I don’t have sweet recollections of our conversations about feelings, and his voice doesn’t get softer when he talks to me, or anyone else. My dad is brilliant, funny, sarcastic, and tough. He’s the hardest working person I know and the least tolerant of BS. He likes a few things very much: his dog, his alone time, and his comfy clothes. But he loves me.
It took me a long time to understand how much my dad loves me. I don’t think I fully appreciated it until I had children. My dad isn’t physically affectionate or emotional, so you could miss it if you’re not paying attention. But when I look back on my life, I see a constant thread – him. All the best and the worst days, there he was. He went to my soccer games and my concerts, and no matter how awful my performance, if he was embarrassed by me, he never let it show. After my parents’ divorce, he drove hours to spend weekends with me or to see me in the school play. He took me to the doctor, and the dentist, and he taught me to ride a bike. He took me to the boardwalk, art museums, and Disney World. He was there for my eighth grade and high school graduations, and when I started driving, he was the first one at the hospital after my car accident. When I left college, he got me a job. When I became clinically depressed, he took me to therapy, and when I fled an abusive relationship, he slept on my couch with a wooden baseball bat for a week just in case my ex-boyfriend showed up. He paid for my elaborate wedding and came to court with me on the day that my divorce was finalized. He was at the hospital when each of my children was born. He was there for my daughter’s first day of school, and when I got serious about my writing career, he immediately signed up for my newsletter. When I moved four times in five years, he showed up for every moving day, moving more than the movers did, even though they were half his age and they were getting paid. He plays with my kids, checks in on me regularly, and still doesn’t think that any man is good enough for me. Maybe he’s right; after all, he has set the bar pretty high.
My dad is my biggest fan, my fiercest protector, and the one person who I have consistently been able to count on since the day that I was born. No matter how many stupid mistakes I make, he never loves me any less. He may get aggravated, and there may be yelling (with colorful language, of course) but underneath it all, there is always the goal of my happiness and well-being.
So take heart, parents: those kids that seem ungrateful now may one day wake up and realize that your unfailing love and support is what got them through. And although we all have shortcomings, just like our kids don’t have to be perfect for us to love them, we don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful parents – we just have to support our kids through the good, the bad and the ugly, even if they brought the ugliness on themselves. That’s love, and I am grateful to have it in my life.
Thank you, Dad – for everything. Dear readers, I hope that you have love in your life as well. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Is there someone who has always been there for you whose love you have taken for granted? Might now be an appropriate time to thank them?