Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

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I have to admit that for the longest time I avoided Fathers Day like the plague. To me it was a painful, yearly reminder of what I once had, but no longer did. It was once a day that had brought great joy in to my life. Up until a few years ago I was angry on Father's Day. Angry about all of life that was stolen from my dad, angry about the way that it was stolen from him. Angry about all that he has missed out on, and angry about the fact that life would have been so different if he had been around. So much would be different. So much would have changed. Where would my sister and I be right now if life had "just worked out"?

I have good memories of the short 17 years I shared with my dad. He was a sleek business man that had Italian suits tailored just perfectly. He had a loving, protective heart and extremely particular taste in EVERYTHING. He loved to sell houses, and even more loved to take us out and rollerskate every Saturday away. He had hand crafted Italian Cologne and a short temper. He told me once when I was 12 that if any man ever mistreated me that he would find an assault rifle and finish them off. I know he meant it. He never missed one single one of my gymnastics meets, and I know that he thoroughly supported my Olympic goals.

Looking back on the times when my dad was very sick, I can now see why he did some of the things that he did. I can remember a day when I was 16, and we were over at my grandparents house visiting him like we did every weekend where he had unusual requests. It wasn't a mystery to my mind that he was dying. In fact, I had been well aware since pretty much the very beginning what was going on. Everyone in my family was trying to protect my sister and I from the "real truth" but I had already contacted the American Cancer Society and gotten the real truth over the phone and through massive packets in the mail. I knew. He knew. I'm pretty sure he knew that I knew. So he started asking my sister and I to dance with him in the living room certain Sunday afternoons. I remember him putting in an Allison Krauss Greatest Hits album, or at least I'm pretty sure that's what it was. He would dance with us for about as long as he could stand to be up without getting a raging headache. I never fully understood my father's act until recently- and will probably not fully understand this until I am a parent.

But my absolute favorite memory of my father is a bittersweet one. It was the best and worst day of my teenage life if that is possible. My dad had been recovering from a brain tumor the following year. He had actually just returned to work, and everything was looking great. The doctor's had all said that the likelihood of anything recurring was very low, and gave him high hopes and a great prognosis. I had just practically skipped home from school about 2 weeks in to my freshman year of high school. My dad had just bought us 2 tickets to the 1996 Olympic Gymnastics Tour in Cincinnati, OH. I had never been more excited about going to anything in my life. As I ran through the door to get ready to go, I received a call from my mom saying that she had just gotten a call from the hospital, saying that my dad was in a conference with some family and doctors about the MRI's they had just received from the hospital. I was crushed. My mom said that my dad was forcefully trying to get out of the meeting with his surgeon and doctors about his potential failing health, telling them "I have a date with my daughter I cannot miss." While the doctors and family said that they didn't believe it was safe for him to drive, and were trying to even take his car from him, he dismissed all of their urgent requests (for the weekend anyway) and stormed out of the hospital and picked me up and took me away to Cincinnati. I know now how sick he must have been, but pretended to be well. We had a weekend that was epic and wonderful and scary and risky. I am so thankful that my dad decided not to listen to reason that weekend. He needed that time as a father, and I needed it as a daughter.

I had 17 years with an amazing father which in my book far outweighs a lifetime with a mediocre one. God gives us exactly what we need and when we need it, even when we don't agree on times and circumstances that accompany our lives sometimes. I could fill a book with the love and memories I have as daughter, both loved by my own dad and most importantly loved by God.

This is my first father's day as a wife. We have been married for a little over a month and a half and don't have kids yet. But when I look in to my husbands eyes, that same flame that burned so brightly in my own fathers eyes is every bit as present in my husband. The words "The son of man came to seek and save that which was lost" (I forget which verse that is) keep going through my head this morning. Because that is what is at work in our lives. God brings healing in to the places of our hearts where we were wounded most. It is a beautiful thing to receive healing by beholding in your own husband's eyes the very thing that was taken away, but is yet ever so present once again. It is beautiful.


Jess Gatlyn said...

i'm crying. this is amazing love. you are such a good writer and your heart is beautiful.

Therese Rogie said...

Awwwwe you are sweet. I love you!!

frashrah said...

Luke 19:10... one of the few versus I actually have memorized!! love you Tesserdoodleydoo