Honoring Our Fathers
It began before I can even remember. Since infancy I have been a daddy’s girl. My parents tell me of how when I was a baby, my father worked second shift. To allow my mother to get a bit of sleep, she would pass me to him, as he got home from work and she headed off to bed. He would talk to me while he heated up and ate his dinner. He would play with me and read me the newspaper. For an hour or two each night before he put me to bed, I had his undivided attention, and surely, I thought that was just the greatest thing ever!
As I got a little older, I begin to have more memories with my father. He called me his “Pal” or “Peanut” (which he also called my other sisters before me, but I got to claim being his last little peanut!). I loved to stand on his feet to dance around the kitchen. I could not wait to run errands with him, especially to the office supply store where I knew he would likely buy me a special sticker. He taught me to ride my bike without training wheels, and he helped me learn to swim and master different strokes. He took our family camping and hiking. He helped instill in me my love of travel, and he drove endless hours as we traveled across the country each summer to visit family in other states.
I have loved playing games with my father. He liked to teach me games that would encourage me to learn or to use strategy. He taught me to play Cribbage and chess. As I got older, we began to play more games with the whole family, like Balderdash, Scrabble, and Rummikub. I believe that his calmly explaining the rules of games and tips for playing helped me learn to organize and think in a more logical manner today, much like he does. His humor and ability to come up with a witty remark also rubbed off on me.
My father has the patience of a saint. He was the one who got to teach my sisters and I to drive-- and in a standard car. While it likely was not his first pick for how to spend a weekend, he attended every Saturday show choir competition I had when I was in high school. He humored me when I sat and watched football with him, asking him to explain it to me. He sat at the kitchen table with me to help me figure out how to do my Algebra II homework (even when I didn’t understand his “old math” versus my “new math” ways).
I have always appreciated his incredible mind and ability to remember dates. He never forgets a birthday, anniversary, or even Hallmark holiday. I love listening to him reminisce about his childhood and his family history. I especially loved the summer we went to see his childhood home on Lake Michigan, and he pointed out the large apple trees growing in the backyard. He shared the story of how as a little boy, he helped plant those very trees with his own father, who passed away a couple of weeks before I was born. Then each autumn they would enjoy the apples. That was part of what motivated him to plant apple trees in our own backyard, which I then got to eat from every year as I was growing up.
When I was in my mid-thirties and decided to leave my teaching career to become a missionary in an orphanage in Mexico, it was my father who asked if he could accompany me on a week-long trip to check out the place and meet the people there first. I was so grateful when he took to the children there as well as I did, getting down on the floor to play with them or rocking a baby to sleep. I silently praised God when the little boys started calling him “Grandfather,” and my dad could feel more at ease with his own baby committing to serve for three years at that orphanage. When I ended up meeting my husband there, my father returned to the orphanage church in Mexico to walk me down the aisle.
While it began before I can remember, my immense and endless love for my father will certainly never be forgotten. I consider myself most blessed to be his little peanut, and one day I hope to be able to eat apples with my children while retelling stories of their wonderful grandfather and great-grandfather.
For this Father’s Day, how would you honor your father? What memories and stories would you share? Or what questions would you want to ask your father so that his stories aren’t forgotten? Here at LifeBio, we would be honored to help you record your own stories about fathers. You can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, via telephone at 1-800-LIFE-BIO, or here online at https://www.lifebio.org/.