(I wrote this about a year ago, but am reposting it in honor of the most important man in my life, even though he’s been gone 12 years, for Father’s Day. So, apologies to the legions of people (and by legions, I mean maybe 10) who have read this already)
My father was a genius. He was also an alcoholic. He was many things…..he was Friend, Nephew, Son, Husband and Daddy, and
He was kind and generous. He would give a friend, or a stranger for that matter, the shirt off his back, even if it was his only one……..he would never ask for it’s return. He wouldn’t think to himself, “Someone should do something to help this man”….instead, HE would help him.
He worked hard to provide for his family. He expected no hand-outs; he never had. He loaded trucks all night while attending College full-time during the day. He didn’t expect anyone, not even his parents, to pay for his education. The thought would never have even crossed his mind….not once.
He was a Patriot, not in the platitudinous, oft-bandied about way, but in every sense of the word. He served in the Army, yet he loathed guns. Absolutely despised them, but would defend one’s right to carry one vehemently ; I never knew why he hated them so, and I regret never asking. He considered keeping himself wholly informed, always, a most significant and precious of civic duties. He was never tempted by promises of quick fixes even when they would have most likely helped him personally for a moment. He, instead, only wanted what he believed was truly best for the future of his children and for His Country, a Country he loved with intense passion, a love he instilled in me from birth.
He was wonderfully funny and laughed often….but I noticed he laughed only with his mouth and voice. His eyes never smiled……they were always sad. I learned that I do not want that for myself; I want my eyes to have many crinkles, signifying a life filled with true, heartfelt love, laughter and joy.
He doubted himself always, but put on an overly confident public face. I do the same. That one is still a work in progress.
He was the best Daddy a girl could have. Regardless of his own pain and no matter what I did or didn’t do, he always and I mean always made me feel loved and never stopped letting me know he was proud of me, even when it wasn’t quite warranted.
My dreams from my father don’t entail thoughts or wishes of power or wealth or prestige….or of somehow righting perceived past wrongs or injustices. He didn’t dream of a life handed to him by others or a life filled with fancy things or Keeping Up With The Joneses. His dream was one that seemed most simple, but is often the hardest to obtain; He dreamed to Be Happy (though he hated Bobby McFerrin)……My dream is the same. And I’m thankful I’m not tortured by the demons that served to prevent his dreams from coming true…..because they didn’t; He died 12 years ago. Alone. Tough Love is the suck sometimes. Yet, that taught me that I will do anything to ensure that my daughter never has to go through the same pain.
I learned from his strengths; I learned as much, or more, from his weaknesses and his demons. All those strengths and all those weaknesses taught me how to be the person I am and the person I am still becoming, for I am still learning and hope to always be.
Those are My Dreams From My Father. That is MY Audacity of Hope: a joyful, honest, laughter and love-filled life of my very own making. I’m a simple girl and maybe that isn’t “Dreaming Big”. But, to me, there is no dream more worthy.