Father’s Day

June 19, 2011

Family

My daughter Lara said it best about Father’s day this year.  On Facebook she wrote: ” My family and I actually received the BEST Father’s Day gift ever, the chance to still have my father in all of our lives! A special Happy Father’s Day goes out to the GREATEST father in the world…MINE! Love you daddy!”  

 When I woke Mike this morning and wished him Happy Father’s Day he looked puzzled.  I said, “well, you’re a father right?  Today’s Father’s Day so HAPPY DAY!”  He allowed as how he didn’t know if he was a father.  We went down the list of his children and how and why he’s a dad.  The way his brain operates is very interesting on some strange academic level.  He knows his kids are his kids.  He  recognizes their faces and their names.  Yet he couldn’t connect that and process it to being a Father.  It made me reflect on whether or not he realizes the things that made him a father…and his kids his kids…besides biology.  This, of course, made me reflect on my own father and grandfathers. 

My Dad is not with us.  We had a strained relationship at best.    We were too much alike in too many ways to ever see eye to eye.  We had different positions and the similarity was that each of us was equally entrenched in our own positions.    Yet to this day, his principles, his guidance, his steerage are with me, firmly ingrained and make me who I am today.  Dad was a frogman, assigned to UDT2 and for a time was an instructor.  I was born while he was stationed in Norfolk, Va.  A consultant I once worked with, the son of a child psychiatrist, upon learning my dad was UDT, commented that UDT meant he was a Navy Seal.  I said pishtosh…and he pointed out that group of men became the Seals.  He also pointed out that knowing that told him…or anybody listening…everything about me you needed to know.  I should just tell people that up front. Kind of like a yellow caution tag I guess.  “I was raised by a Navy Seal.”  Hmph.   Dad was tough, demanding and set a high standard.  But we had everything we needed, most everything we wanted and he was always present.  He loved in a way that was not demonstrable as is today’s young fathers…yet we never doubted it really. 

And, since I have grandchildren of my own, naturally, my own grandfathers have long passed.  My mom’s father was sweetie.  Every day he came to our house to stay with us while our parents worked.  It filled his retired time and helped out our parents.  My grandmother still worked, in retail, so she worked a few evenings a week.  On those days Grandpa would eat dinner with us.  I remember how he used to mix all his food together on his plate.  This was absolutely something I could not bear.  My food needed to be kept separate..not touching the other items on the plate.  If my mother had permitted it I would have eaten out of my baby divided dish until I was grown.  I contemplated buying one when Longaberger introduced them last year but held out figuring people needed no further evidence of my neuroses.  I remember Grandpa as always smiling a bemused smile and never, ever angry.  He was a paper hanger and painter when he worked and from him I learned, somehow, how to hang wallpaper.  He never showed me.  I don’t remember ever watching him do it.  But I do remember somehow soaking it up.  I also learned how to finish unpainted furniture so it would rival that of the finest furniture store.  From him I somehow seem to have learned there isn’t anything you can’t learn/teach yourself how to do.   I also learned all the best Pennsylvania Dutch words and customs!  My Grandpa was a Kutz.  We always wondered if he was somehow related to the founder of Kutztown.  It wasn’t until long after his death as I undertook the family history that I learned that indeed, he was a direct descendant of George Kutz who founded Kutztown, Pa.  Grandpa Kutz died when I was 16.  I remember him fondly and miss him a lot.  I have him (and my Grandma Kutz who was a saint) to thank for the levelness of my disposition at most times. 

My Pappy Blake, dad’s dad, was the most beloved man in my world.  I was his first grandchild and he was devoted to me.  Until his death, when I was 7, I spent more time with he and my Nana than with my parents and brothers.  Pappy spoiled me unmercifully.  He taught me to fish.  He took me in the woods.  He wanted a new hunting beagle…Nana said no more dogs…and under the guise of Robin wanting a puppy, he convinced Nana we should have a new Beagle.  Problem was, the hunting puppy he wanted was too spirited for my taste.  I wanted the runt…sweet, laid back, docile.  Susie came to live with us, and she never did go hunting.  I learned to love the seashore and the boardwalk because he and Nana would take me to Seaside Heights and we would walk the boardwalk as he played games of chance to win me various and sundry goodies.  My child sized walking doll came from one of those excursions and how I loved her!  From Pappy I learned what total devotion and love is.  More than anything the unconditional love he and my Nana had for me is probably what shaped my own parenting. 

With Mike I have shared the sum of these lessons combined with the lessons he took away from his father and grandfather.  We have raised three children and helped with two grandsons.  I am hopeful each day, as I see aspects of all of these men demonstrated in my son and my grandsons…hopeful that one day they will pass on the amalgamation to their own children.  Kids they will love and enjoy as much as Mike and I have loved and enjoyed ours.  

To all of these wonderful men in my life I say thank you for the gifts I have received from each of you.  I have loved you and love each of you still.    I think that for me, this year, the celebration of Father’s Day is a celebration of the continuum of the fatherly love demonstrated by our earthly fathers and our Heavenly Father that continues to shape the future generations as it shaped the past ones.  I am grateful my kids can honor their dad this year and that I can celebrate Father’s Day with him.  I am grateful to remember my dad and my grandfather’s and my father-in-law.  And I just want to say to them, AWESOME JOB GUYS!  I love you all.

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One Comment on “Father’s Day”

  1. Beckie Says:

    Loved this post. It made me pause and think about my own grandfather. Our paternal “Pop” was the only grandfather we had. As a rural mail carrier, he entertained us with tales of some of his most interesting deliveries. There were stories of baby chicks, bees and ducklings sent by mail. I’ll never forget the last time that I saw him. He was sick and didn’t know me & it was a crushing day. I was 26 yrs old, but I loved him so much.

    Reply

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