My dad is a man of many (many, many) words. I’m not joking at all when I say that he can literally talk to anyone about anything… sports, politics, religion… everything is fair game to him. He’s the type of guy who will strike up a conversation with a complete stranger or invite a Jehovah’s Witness into his house to discuss faith and religion (true story). But over the years, I’ve found that there are two topics that leave my dad with very few words when brought up in a conversation:
‘Girl’ talk and emotions.
I suppose that’s pretty common for any man, but what isn’t common is that this man had to raise four (yes, four) daughters… quadruple the ‘girl’ talk and quadruple the emotions. When my little sister was born, I’m pretty sure my dad went into survival mode and never looked back. That, and he mastered the art of selective hearing. I’m sure he was probably rejoicing the day we were all officially out of the house for good, ready to welcome his quiet, drama-less, tampon-free (oops, sorry Dad) world with open arms. Little did he know, his life was about to get a little bit crazier and a whole lot louder.
Enter the grandkids.
Our family get-togethers went from card games and chats about marriage to discussions about breastfeeding (double oops!) and what kind of nursing pads (triple oops!) worked the best. My dad, being wise in his old(er) age, learned the best way to deal with this was to turn around and hightail it out of the room as quickly as possible. Smart man. I’m not sure exactly how to break it to him, but as long as he has four daughters (and now, two granddaughters) there will always be ‘girl’ talk. Now, if he could just learn how to hightail it away from all the noise…
When it comes to emotion, my dad is more of the strong, silent type. If he were writing this post, he would sum it all up in six words:
“Thank you and I love you.”
But because he’s not writing this post and I’m more of the weepy, emotional-mess type, I can’t just leave it at that. So I just have one thing to say to my dad this Father’s Day…
I’ve figured you out.
Because I’m grown and married now, with kids of my own, I see things differently than I did before.
I see you sitting through band concerts instead of going home and relaxing after a long, stressful day at work.
I see you giving up your Saturdays to watch your daughter finish dead last in every single cross-country meet.
I see you spending your evenings rebounding hundreds of free throws for me instead of catching up on the yard work.
Time was a rare commodity for you back then and yet you spent it supporting me, supporting all four of us, in whatever we chose to do.
So this is what I’ve figured out about you. The way you love is not in a bunch of sappy, mushy words or in a huge gush of emotion, but in your doing and giving. It’s in the way you serve.
So as you cheered in the bleachers at every basketball game, moved your kids to different states (and a different country), drove a huge Penske truck from Tennessee to Ohio, built an amazing egg-drop project, cut out wood letters to hang on your grandson’s wall, helped with a kitchen remodel, painted each one of our houses and fixed every garage door, dishwasher and dryer that we owned, you were showing us how much you love us.
Today, I just want you to know that day after day, month after month and year after year, you’ve loved us well.
Happy Father’s Day to the dad who’s managed to say so much, with so few words.