An Ode To A "Job-like" Dad
What Can I Say About My Dad?
After a lifetime of good times and bad, after the trials and tribulations of a broken home and the heartbreak it caused, we kept it together to come out of it better and stronger and closer than we ever were.
As far back as I can remember, I have always known my father loved me. Though we did not say "I love you" much in our home, it was somehow understood that it was there.
The details of the broken home I will not get into here, except that, for a time, I was certain that all love was going away and would never come back. After mom left us--Dad, me and my big sister and little brother--my father cried himself to sleep every night. He would sob until the pre-dawn hours, and then get up at 5:00 and get ready to go to work. He never missed a day. Even when such an absence would have been perfectly acceptable, he would not take the day. He worked, day in and day out to make money to keep the family fed and a roof over our heads.
He quit smoking when I was an 8-year-old, because he knew it bothered me. He quit cold-turkey. No BS. Just threw the smokes out the window while we were driving down the highway and he never looked back or lit up again. Of course, as luck would have it, I wanted to try cigarettes before he had quit, and I did. A few years later, when he and mom found evidence in the garage to indicate I had been smoking, he jacked my ass BIG TIME. He was so angry. He confiscated my smoke stash and grounded me. Then, after about 2 weeks, he came to me and told me that, if I though I was adult enough to smoke, I was adult enough to smoke in front of him. He did not want me sneaking around. Even though he disagreed with what I wanted,, he let me make my own mistakes. Throughout my life, my Dad has been the thought behind the motivation whenever I have given up smoking. The last time I quit smoking was February 11, 2008. I quit because it bothered my kids and I have not looked back since.
No matter what stupid thing I did, as a child or a teen or a young adult, Dad always supported me. Sometimes he would have to be angry and bluster first. Then he would smile and give me a hug and show me support. Like when I wanted to drop out of school at the beginning of 11th grade, he was furious. He was a drop-out and did not want us to be like him. But it was what I felt I needed to do, so he signed the papers and it was done. When, at 16, I decided I needed to escape the sadness of home, Shelley and I found an apartment, and Dad let us go. He called to check on us, or I would call him. And a year later, when we could not make it anymore, he welcomed us back with open arms.
When I got pregnant at 18, Dad did not know right away. I had gone away for an extended stay with my mom, to try and clear my head. When my sister and I got back home and pulled into the driveway, Dad came out of the house to greet us as I was getting out of the car. The look on his face was one of shock and surprise, and perhaps a little fear. But none of the loathing and shame I was expecting and was SURE I deserved, EVER appeared on Dad's face. He gave me a hug, we cried and then went inside.
When eventually I moved away from home as an adult, Dad called me all the time, or I called him. This was not a closeness he shared with my sister, who is the complete opposite of me. He would call just to see what I had been doing, or how his grandson was, or he would vent to me about things that were happening in his life that he needed to get off his chest.
Many years have passed since those early years, and through it all, Dad has been a rock. He and mom are even friends again. She lives with my oldest son, now 26, only a few blocks from the house I grew up in. He drives them to work and picks them up again. Mom has him over for meals and special occasions.
Dad never stopped loving mom, no matter how upset or angry he got. He would still, to this day, marry her again if she would have him.
Day after day, Dad keeps plugging away. He runs the roads at all hours to get the people in his life where they need to be. There are many facets about Dad from the past that I will not mention here out of respect for his privacy. Suffices to say that, looking back through the long years and the struggles surmounted, it did take a man with the patience of Job, not to give up on his own life or ours; to continue to offer encouragement when his own determination had flagged; to continue to try and make things work even if he did not believe they ever would. Indeed, my Dad is a very good man.
I love you, Dad! xxxooo :)