Inspiring Story of the Difference Dad Made
Dad’s make a difference. This Father’s Day I hope to inspire fathers to continue to love, support and give to their children. Children learn discipline and courage, have fun, gain security, and a powerful reference of relationships through the attachment they develop with their fathers. Here is a personal story of the impact my father had on my life.
This post was origionally composed as my opening article for this blog on his birthday.
My daddy is a paragon of patience, our in-home comic, is kind, my greatest fan and cheer leader, and my inspiration. Today, (July 11) is my Daddy’s 79th birthday and in honour of him I wanted to share some of my memories to inspire other fathers (and parents generally) to love their daughters/family with a similar sincerity.
My daddy is Frank E. He was raised with his sister and brother by “Indi”, a single mother. Frank was a chartered accountant who loved the world of numbers and finance and spent most of his career working in the banking sector. He raised his first child, Lauren, with the help of his mother until she was 16 when she took the opportunity to live overseas with her mother. In the late sixties he married my mother and 4 years later they had me, and then 4 years later, my sister, Trecia.
He was a very handsome young man and maintained his looks well into his middle years. He always dressed well and I remember his early morning laps around our front lawn to keep himself fit. As a little girl I would enjoy occasionally joining him for a few laps, walking/jogging, talking and joking.
Daddy was a jokester. His jokes were almost never funny but in a corny kind-of-way that made us love him for his loving attempt to amuse us. He was a follower of people like the 3 Stooges, Wayne and Shuster, and Benny Hill. I remember the joke of “Mr. Chester” he would recite and act out cracking up to himself. Even in his saddest moment, after the death of his mother, he kept his humour, joking about the loads of hankies he had for his impending tears.
He was also a kind, dependable provider. Whenever I needed something, the way a teenage girl ‘needs’ a new outfit, he would mostly ‘seemingly reluctantly’ open up his wallet to me. Dad provided more than cash, he was also a faithful, incredibly patient transporter. Dad would drive us anywhere no matter the distance, drop us off and pick us ( and a carload of our friends) up again. My Dad would sit in his parked car for up to 1 hr for us at the party if we decided to stay longer. As I visualise him sitting in that grey Peugeot now, tears well up in my eyes because I never did enough to thank him for his extra-ordinary patience.
I also remember movie times with my dad. Sunday morning matinees after breakfast were special times we shared. I would snuggle next to him on the living room sofa or in his bed and watch some of his favourite actors in action –James Stewart, Cary Grant, Spencer Tracey & Kathryn Hepburn, Gina Rogers & Fred Astaire, etc. He taught me that a movie is only as good as the actors involved. (This is probably why I hardly go to the movies these
days, with CGI who acts anymore?).
My Daddy was an encourager. He made me feel more valued than millions of $$$ by the pride he expressed in me. It’s one thing to tell your child you’re proud of them & their accomplishments but my Dad would brag about me. Wherever we were, whenever I was with him and we would run into his friends he would boast to them about how I was doing in school or at work (he still did this when I became an adult). He made me want to make him always be proud of me. So when I was tempted as a teenager to engage in risky behaviours (drugs, unprotected sex, etc) I was restrained by the thought of possibly disappointing my Dad.
One of the long-standing effects of my father’s love for me is outlived in my choice of husband. How could a girl who was so thoroughly loved the first man in her life settle for anything less? One conscious criteria for mate selection for me was a man who would love me as husband but also would love our children like he did as a father. Most parents have love for their children, but my Daddy’s love is KNOWN by his children. My father gave me the reference in experience to recognise a good man when I met him. Through my husband, B & R, also have this experience of unconditional love.
Today my Dad is unable to read this. His body is severely damaged by over 15 years of Parkinson’s disease . He is unable to tell me any corny jokes as his speech is incomprehensible. He doesn’t know/remember his grandchildren (my children), even his namesake – B. Frank as Alzheimer emerges. My hope is some disengaged father will be encouraged to step up and be a daddy, or fathers will be encouraged to sustain their efforts in loving their kids. A Daddy’s love has lifetime and multi-generational effects.
Happy Birthday Daddy, I LOVE YOU!!!
Thank you for reading. My father died in Fall 2013 after a courageous fight with Parkinsons Disease for 20 years. The disease didn’t beat him, at 81 years we finally let him go. He had done his part; the legacy of his love and influence lives on within us.
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