What would we do without dads?
My father definitely influenced my life. I know he worked long hours and was involved in community organizations that kept him out late, so he wasn't there as much as mom, but still he impacted me. Perhaps because he wasn't home as much, the memories of dad time stuck out more. Not that dad time was always peachy. We had our issues, especially regarding smoking and the very strained period of my adolescence. What can I say? Dad taught me to be a free thinker and demand respect, so I did.
I remember many days sitting at the table having something to eat while he sat nearby, reading the newspaper, a cup of coffee at his elbow and a cigarette in the ashtray. A ribbon of smoke stretched and curled to the ceiling as the ash collected on the tip of his forgotten fix. He would start reading out loud whenever something interested him, his strong voice resonating as he spoke, his Spanish accent giving flavor to the words. Back then, I didn't always want to listen. I didn't always understand what the article was about. But now I see how those moments created similar moments for me. I will read articles out loud to my family, just like dad did with me.
I remember dad building things and fixing things. Sometimes I was the unwilling helper. Dad could get annoyed if you didn't understand which tool he wanted you to give him. I took for granted all of the things he did: putting that cage together for our pigeons; mixing cement to build walls and a patio in the backyard; fixing leaks and electrical issues in our broken down house. Now that I have my own little broken down house, I appreciate the amount of knowledge he had, and also the lack of knowledge but willingness to give it a try. Now I build things too, and I do my best to save money by learning how to fix things myself. Dad taught me that.
I remember nights wheezing or sick with a cold when dad would come in and I wished it was mom. Mom didn't try to make me drink the odd home remedies dad did. "Drink it gloo-gloo!" was the common phrase I would hear as he held up a cup of odd smelling tea or water laced with cider vinegar. I hated that stuff! But sometimes it would work and I would avoid a trip to the doctor or emergency room. He would turn on our little black and white TV and fiddle with the antenna so that I could watch a show on yoga. Now I incorporate alternative remedies and yoga into our lives. We still go to the doctor, but I will question vaccines and look for better ways to care for my son's asthma, rather than rely on drugs. Dad taught me to do my own research in my quest for better health.
My husband is a good dad. Sometimes he has to work late for weeks on end, but I know he likes coming home to his family and being with us. I'm sure my kids will have memories of their dad and how he influenced their lives. I can't say what those memories will be, but I'm sure some of it will revolve around computers, barbequing, and book discussions. Dads do things a bit different than moms, even the dads I know that are the primary homeschooling parent. Each parent brings their own unique view of the world to the child. I'm glad there have been men in my life who are family-centered. Dads are nice to have around.
Happy Father's Day to all the dads I know, especially my dad, my husband, my brother, and my brother-in-law. And Father's Day thoughts for my late father-in-law, who raised a fine son. Thanks for being dads.