Second in emotional challenges for me, is Father's day. Slightly less raw than Mother's day, is the day that we celebrate the male influences in our lives.
I am blessed beyond measure to be able to give thanks to the following:
First and foremost, let me say that I made peace with my father. As an adult, I came to terms first with how my early life fell to bits and secondly, with my father. We had a relationship unlike the average father-daughter one, but what is average anyway? In the end of his days, we talked long and communicated well on what, by any stretch, had been a relationship fraught with every emotion known to human kind. In the very end, I accepted that he would not be at peace with it, but that I was. Forgiveness, true, true forgiveness frees both the forgiven and the one who forgives for life and love as we should know it. I am grateful for the heritage that I have and it came from my father's family, as that is the one that I have known.
Secondly, I am grateful for the men in my life who took a seven year old girl and guided and molded and gave selflessly of their selves and their resources and their wisdom. To Uncle Juddy, Uncle Hugh and Uncle Billy, who were 'great' relatives both generationally and presently, spent more time and effort bringing a willful, stubborn, aimless child into focus with many hours of calm, wise counsel and much direction, both specific and that which comes from watching lives lived well, I wish them eternal peace. For looking at me and understanding that I was going to need a lot of skills to make it in life 'alone' and then for proceeding to teach me those things, I am ever grateful. For being examples of fine, tough, never say die, Scottish stock, they were pretty much perfect. For walking me down the aisle, teaching me to be a fearless cook, keeping it real and honest when I needed advice that I didn't want to hear and teaching me marksmanship and how to fish, drive a tractor and change the oil, I am thankful. For helping me learn to manage my temper, which in this family is no small feat, for insisting upon self control and modelling it (most of the time), I am glad.
For giving me the gift of knowing men who were tough on every front but gentle and kind with women, true old fashioned gentlemen who gave me confidence in the male gender and in myself, I heap highest praise.
To Ike, who was my link to the heart and soul of the African American experience, and who's gentleness and easy smile made it ok to be a kid again. Memories of sitting on his knee in front of a fire, warming my hands, held between his wrinkled, calloused ones was comfort and care in a world gone wrong. If ever there was a way for a white child to have a black grandfather, this was it. For teaching me that hearts do not come in shades of brown or white and for holding my hand when I was scared, I am ever grateful.
To my father in law, Jerry, who, in retrospect, shielded myself and my
family, and whose quiet reserve and insight into life, and whose example
of being true to vows are unsurpassed in my experience, whose parenting
gave me a beautiful husband and whose dark brown eyes and sense of
humor I see in my own children.
To the men who are present in my life now:
To Jordan and Trent, who from infancy, retrained me in the meaning of maleness and who have loved me so sweetly and so completely and whose rambunctiousness has caused me to live a life that is not at all boring.
May you someday know the joyous gift of being fathers yourselves.
To David, who from toddler hood, remained my consistent friend and confidant and a good example of the best of the male world. For nearly 50 years of absolute constancy in 'being there' and whose unwavering counsel I trust. For knowing me, heart and soul, all of that time and still being there through sorrow and sunshine and every day in between.
To my Uncle Phil and Uncle Claude, who,both, make me laugh...always.
To my son in law, Clayton, for his spirit of adventure and courage in joining the family.
To my brother in law, Tim, whose good nature and giftedness at being an uncle, adds so much to my life.
To my husband, for being first and foremost, the love of my life, kind and caring when my heart needs it, sturdy and faithful in a world where that is often missing. For being able to deal with a fiercely independent spirit (in me and in the kids) and for not throwing his hands in the air so many times. For support, physically and emotionally, and spiritually and for being the one man in the world to give me the gift of being a mother, I owe so much. From the moments of their birth, he, who held them first, has been a steadfast champion of our children. For working day and night, for riding shotgun on consistency and supporting my need and desire to be a full time parent during their young years, I am indebted.
Happy Father's Day!