Father’s Day is another day that brings me back to reflections of who I am and how I became the person I’ve become. My first thought is to wish my Dad and my bio Dad a very happy Father’s Day. Sadly, my Dad died July 17, 2008. He is sorely missed not only by me, but by many people who knew him. I don’t think it is possible to get across to people how lucky I feel not only to have known him, but to actually have been his daughter. My ex-husband was envious of the love I felt for my Dad and for the ease at which Dad inspired loyalty. I never really compared the two of them because in general, I take people one by one. And I think my Dad instilled that trait into me.
I’ve borrowed a truck to get my things from my ex-husband’s house and the kids loudly plead their case for riding in the back. It really brings back memories of all the miles that I rode in the back of the trucks we had while I was growing up. I rode standing, sitting on the wheel well, legs dangling off the end – I even rode in the back of a truck all the way to Ohio and back for my cousin’s wedding. Riding in the back of a truck are some of my fondest memories because it involved me doing things with my Dad. Dad also had a little Volkswagen bug – yeah, you know – the punch buggy. Not too far from our house we had a huge field of corn. Dad would take Danny and me over there, sit in an ancient lawn chair while Danno and I took turns driving around the field. I learned how to drive a stick in that bug – I was about 9 years old. And when it was time to pick the corn, I drove the old Ford 2000 tractor while everyone gathered up the ears and threw them into a wagon attached to the tractor.
He knew how much I loved horses. I was a typical horse crazy girl. I got off of the bus one day and out in the field was a little shetland pony. His name was Silver and he was probably the meanest creature ever born! Of course Dad didn’t know it at the time. It was Halloween and we were going to the Halloween party at my elementary school that night. Dad went into the field with me and I had some sugar to give to Silver. I held my hand out and that pony reached out and bit me in the side, lifting me off of the ground. Youch! Eventually Dad paid someone $100 to take the pony and keep him in their field. Later, the same person offered Dad $200 to take the pony back!!
This could go on forever. I have so many memories of Dad and sometimes it hurts to remember them because I miss him so much. Living in the house in which I grew up creates opportunities for memories to sneak up on me. There are days that memories wash over me like rain, recreating that sense of security and love that existed while I was growing up. I remember all the mistakes Dad allowed me to make while standing aside ready to catch me if I fell too hard. As a parent, I know how hard it is to do this.
A few years back, I found and met my biological Dad. What an opportunity this has created for me. I am so grateful to him for his graciousness in receiving me into his home and his family. He married my biological Mom after I had been born and I have found that I have 4 full brothers and sisters. I have so much gratitude towards my birth parents for having given me up for adoption when they were too young to think about starting a family. I admire them for having made such a difficult decision and I have them to thank for the childhood that I did have. My parents never hid my adoption from me – I’ve known I was adopted as long as I can remember. And they stressed how much a person has to love someone to let go in the hopes that better opportunities will exist for that loved one. I’m happy with who I am (on most days!) and I am the sum result of the actions of my family and my biological family. Every day I thank God for the circumstances that allowed me to be raised by my parents and to meet my birth parents to thank them in person.
My Dad has died and I can no longer stop by to wish him a Happy Father’s Day. But now, I can be grateful that my bio Dad is in my life and I have this opportunity to get to know him. He is generous with me in more ways than I can recount and I plan to spend time getting to know him and the rest of the family in whatever time remains of my life.
So this is a wish for a Happy Father’s Day for both of the men that have been there for me throughout my life. My Dad in a presence that allowed me to make mistakes without judgement and my bio Dad in his generosity in allowing me a childhood that I wouldn’t trade for anything. And now his generosity extends to being an actual presence in my life.