Song for Dad
“ . . . In everything he ever did he always did with love, And I'm proud today to say I'm his son . . .”
From Song for Dad by Keith Urban
I know that I wrote about my dad just a couple of weeks ago. I can’ help it that his birthday is a couple of weeks before Father’s Day. Besides, my dad is pretty darn cool and it's Father's Day.
As I thought about what to write for this Father’s Day, the line at the top of this page from Keith Urban’s “Song for Dad” came to mind.
I’m blessed to have a dad like I do. My earliest memories of Dad are of when we lived in Tampa, Florida, for a brief period. For Christmas, one of the gifts he and my mom got me was a battery-operated helicopter on a cord. I loved helicopters. Dad got it all set up for me. Then he tested it.
Then he tested it some more.
And some more.
Until it broke.
I still tease him about breaking my favorite toy before I got a chance to play with it. I know that some who might have experienced similar things would have thought it as a negative experience. I think it's funny in a Chevy Chase/National Lampoon's Vacation sort of way and I don't view Dad negatively at all for that.
Dad's sense of humor is often self-deprecating and can laugh at himself as easily as he can at anything else. He's also his own harshest critic. I get both of those traits from him and have mastered them well.
Dad and Mom always provided for my sister and I very well. We wanted for nothing, and we had more than we needed. We didn't always have the best but we always had the best that they could sensibly provide for us. Whether it was bikes, clothes, stereos, or anything else kids needed or wanted, Mom and Dad always did what they could to provide and make life fun and interesting.
My dad also instilled his strong work ethic in me. I wish I had gotten his mechanical and electrical abilities. What I do have are a treasure chest full of memories that are added to daily. Dad and I spend a lot of time together and I am so grateful for that.
I say all of this for a reason. If your dad is still alive, savor the moments with him. Ask him a lot of questions about his life. Ask all sorts of questions about random things. His favorite songs as a kid. His earliest memories. What scared him most as a kid. Whatever comes to mind.
It will be those kinds of things that will come to mind after they’re gone, and you’ll wish you knew the answers to those kinds of questions. If your dad is gone, draw from your treasure chest of memories the best memories you have and reflect on them.
I know dad's aren't perfect. I'm a dad so I am painfully aware of this fact. I know that there are those of you who have had absent and/or abusive fathers. For those of you who have or had a dysfunctional relationship with your dad, take the high road and do a couple of things.
First, forgive them. Forgive them in your heart. If you can, tell them to their face that you forgive them. If that's not possible, then call or write them and tell them. Aerosmith's Joey Kramer did that to his abusive father and he details the experience in his book, "Hit Hard". He told me in my interview with him that it was healing for him (Joey) to do that.
Second, think good thoughts of them. Don’t falsely deify them but think true, positive thoughts about them. If that’s not possible, then learn from the experience of having that relationship with them and apply those lessons learned to be a better person. In doing that, the experience won’t be wasted.
But to bring this piece full circle before closing: My sister and I love my dad. We’re grateful for how he provided for us as we were growing up. We’re grateful for the help he gave us as adults. He still does in ways of encouragement and many other ways. He’s a good man and we’re grateful and proud to have him as our dad.
Angela and I love you, Dad!
If you've had an abusive parent, I highly recommend Joey Kramer's book, "Hit Hard", referenced in this piece. Click on the cover photo below to order your own copy or a copy for a friend who could benefit from reading it.