Missing A Dad
Written by the author while flying home for his dad's viewing and funeral. He read this as part of his dad's funeral service, and then blessed his grave.
Define a dad!
Yes, define a dad!
When you do, you won't define every dad.
More than likely, you'll define one or two dads: the idealized dad, or a dad drawn from your own experience---very likely your own dad, or the dad you would have had except that something happened (or didn't happen.)
The ideal dad?
Perhaps mature, strong, loving, tender, talented, peaceful, deep at times, a kidder who knows when to stop, a guy you can talk quietly to without either of you saying a word, responsible, organized but flexible, calm in life's inevitable emergencies and daily challenges, a good listener, even-tempered, neat and clean with a relaxed way of looking good by a minimal effort, a man of obvious values he shares by example, a believer in truth and consequences, well-read but not always reading, a man to whom TV is a kaleidoscope to be pondered from time to time, someone at home in the outdoors and at home, a traditionalist always open to more lasting traditions, and a friend you and others are safe with and admire.
Your own dad?
You have already said a mental "Yes" or "No" to some of those qualities, for we all measure our dads or adore them.
Boys grow beside their dads as age matters less and less, and shoot on by them as age matters too much, then slow to their dad's orbit as the familiar becomes more dear, the past more clear, and the future more "iffy" for you both.
Girls grow beside their dads while age still matters, and look for future relationships with a person even more like their dad could have been---until wisdom gives dad credit for what he succeeded in being to all concerned.
Few dads hear the accolades of "he's the best dad" "he's the right dad for me," or "I couldn't have asked for a better dad."
Perhaps too few, for perhaps you might agree with some sons and daughters who believe "we chose him, he didn't choose us."
Dads can choose what we see and hear; they can't choose what we perceive, what we comprehend.
Father's Day (like Mother's Day) is an every day thing: food for man/meals for food, tender discipline/discipline tendered, wins and losses, bad times and good, wishes and reality.
For most (dads included) life offers one long chance to succeed, measured by short but significant successes and failings. The measure of a life is twofold: how far you get in mastering life and how little you let life master you.
Mom is a hallowed title whenever and wherever a mom is a mother. Dad is no less hallowed whenever and wherever dad is a father who cares, and who does his best at keeping his head above water with a reassuring smile on his face.
If your "ideal dad" and "real dad" have some differences, and other dads seem to fit the ideal better, remember how much you have always wanted dad to see you for who you really are, and try seeing him for who he really is, given his burdens and joys.
My own dad is gone from sight, except in my mind's eye. I still see his successes and failings. I may never fully know his burdens and joys, any more than he could ever have known all of mine.
I believe a time will come when that can be possible but far less important than it seems now.
A dad is missing, and a dad is missed.
Copyright 1998 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
One dad in the billions....
- To My Departed Dad
Having a real dad, and a good one at that, isn't a bump-free ride, but a wonderful trip.
Moms and Dads don't just happen.
- Thoughts On Dads and Moms (Of All Varieties)
Each child has at sometime had a father and a mother. Who they are, and how good they are, varies for each child.
More by this Author
This is the continuation of Part I of this story of a Laotian girl becoming a young woman raised in the royal palace of her grandfather and in a time of wars and change.
Once again I am 2,300 miles away (sometimes it has been much more than that) from my only sibling, my sister Mary, on her birthday. In younger years I was there cheering her on. Now we are older.