I am a lucky girl. I bet you all get tired of hearing that from the eternal optimist writing on this blog. I choose to focus on the happiness in this world. There is some if you look for it. Sometimes I feel like I'm living a charmed life, a little naive, too trusting. Truth is, I don't have a reason to believe I should feel otherwise. I'm beating the odds. What's the divorce rate these days? What percentage of children are growing up/have grown up in single parent homes?
I am lucky because my grandparents are still together. My grandfather is a force larger than life in my world. He is full of fun and magic. My kids and cousins' kids call him "Candy Pap Pap" now. Back in the day his pockets would jingle, and the change there always found its way to our hands via magic tricks and slight of hand. He would push us on our tricycles using the handle of a broom so he would not have to bend over (ingenious). He would walk us a mile up the road for penny candy--wear us out-- and then let us re-energize with Swedish Fish, Candy Peanuts, Sixlets, Wax Lips and Candy Cigarettes (?!). His fire company would have a "Corn Carnival" every year, and we would spend our evenings there with him--feeling like he ran the show--"Oh, you're Al's Grand kids!," people would say, and I always felt like my Pap must have talked us up so much that people could pick us out of a crowd. Every where we would go, he always seemed to know someone. And if he didn't know anyone, he found someone to get to know and talk to next time. He read to us. He walked with us. He organized an egg hunt every year.We played games (ring toss, pin the tail on the donkey, breaking pinatas, fishing, bean bag toss, balloon pop) every year on his birthday--even into adulthood--my kids played the same games that we played! He let us pick the veggies out of his garden. Climb his trees. He would take us to the neighbor's to swim. He made my childhood special. He makes me feel special.
My Dad and Mom are together too. My dad would sacrifice it all for his family. He always reminded us of his priorities--God, my mom, our family--and he would do everything he could to show us that we were important. He worked (works) hard every day. He never does anything half way: he's the type of guy that moves all the furniture if he decides to vacuum the floor. He took us camping. Squirted us with the garden hose. Pushed us on the swings. Cooked us hot dog pancakes and introduced us to fried pickles. Took us for a drive to "Timbuktu" or "Schenectady," which was code from Gram's house or Dairy Queen. Sure he made me sit through two hour lectures at the dinner table, but he also taught me about hockey and watched The Pens games with us. He would turn the music up loud and dance with us, and he would let us sit on the basement steps and cheer as he pounded on his drum set. Then he would let us crash the cymbals and use the kick drum. And he would let me sit on his lap at the Pinochle table and stack his nickels and dimes.
These Dads are special--not because of the things they bought us, or how many hours of overtime they put in. It isn't what they do for a living, but what they live for doing: and that is spending time. My Pap and My Dad spent their time. They spent time talking to us, being with us and allowing us to be with them. Dads make their kids feel important, loved, and secure by spending time. Being there without distraction.
That's hard to do, and is harder to do today than it ever has been. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my husband here. I think he does a great job with our girls. For as hard and long as he works, he still finds time to wrestle with our kids on the floor. He still takes time to listen to their stories and attend their "after dinner parties." He makes pancakes for them. He sips from plastic tea cups, talks on plastic phones. He lifts them up high over and over and over and over again. He lets them trail him through the woods behind the house. He tickles them. Hugs them. Tells them he is proud of them. Tries to get them to nap with him on the couch. Allows them to put stickers on his head and face while he "sleeps". Lets them beat him up. Makes them laugh. Spends his time.
Thanks for being there, Dads.
Happy Father's Day!