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Posts Tagged ‘Father’s Day’

I was going to write about Father’s Day. About all the great Dad episodes over the years in this family. Instead, it was becoming a list of Mommy fails:

About how I never wanted to say to my kids, “Just wait ’till your father comes home,” and then one day I did. About how I quit ┬áteaching the Bride how to drive. After she hydroplaned her way through five trees and over the Hope Road sign in the rain, Bob gallantly picked up the pieces of my shattered psyche, and taught her how to drive.

But maybe that’s the point? When we’ve had it up to here with the mundane, daily life of children, housekeeping, cooking, laundry, driving, pet care and generalized nursing duties. like picking bees out of the Rocker’s clothes, well a good Dad knows when to step into the fray. The 50s are gone and Father Doesn’t Always Know Best, but it would behoove him to know how…

To calm a frightened child at night

To cook a meal, or pick one up

To do the dishes

To help his child learn to ride a bike, and drive a car

To tutor/help with homework, including advanced math and science projects

To encourage critical and creative thinking

To not mix colors and whites in the laundry

To ease the passing of an old dog over that rainbow bridge

To remind his wife that everything will be alright, again and again, and that she has a partner in all this

And to stick around until that time when it’s just the two of them again, and they can lean on each other

A Good Husband and Father will bend with the wind, above all he must not be rigid and set in his ways. He will put his family first, ahead of his career. He will protect them at all costs. And even if he was hit as a child, he will never hit his children or break their spirits. He would never use words or discipline to humiliate them. And if his Father left, or he never knew him for some reason, this Father will be doubly determined to never abandon his family, he will ride out the storm of life. He will be like that Israeli fruit, the Sabra; an Israeli born citizen named after a prickly pear – tough and treacherous on the outside, but soft and tender on the inside.

I remember dancing with my Foster Father, or really standing on his feet while he twirled me around the kitchen. There was a dogwood tree outside the window, and he would whistle a tune and sometimes play the spoons! I remember playing gin rummy with him almost every night, for pennies. I remember his little presents for me every day when he returned home from work at Picatinny Arsenal – a flower, a pretty rock, or a colored pencil. Ada always said he was a hard act to follow and she was right.

Fatherhood today can be a challenge, a paradox. But when it’s done well, the outcome is pure love. When your children yell, “Watch Daddy, watch me,” all they need is to know that you love to watch them: climb trees; play an instrument;, swim without swimmies; or ride a bike. All they need is your presence. So sleep late all you Dads out there, put down your devices, and then remember to play and have fun tomorrow! Oh and Bob, your second and third Grand Daddy acts are priceless!IMG_1753

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The Groom came home carrying groceries. Earlier, he and the Love Bug went out for a stroll with their rescue dog Guiness. Later, he’ll give her a bath.

Bob would sculpt science projects with the Bride. He’d cheer at the Rocker’s hockey games. He would always suggest ice cream. He’d keep me at an even keel when teenageitis hit.

Jimmy Mahon played gin rummy with me many nights. He’d bring home small presents every day after work. He built me a dollhouse out of popsicle sticks and drove me to ballet class.

And that’s why we celebrate Father’s Day.

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Well, not necessarily. Sometimes the Mama knows better. Back in the day though, I loved watching Robert Young verbally duel it out with his TV family. Yes folks, it was black and white and we had maybe 3 stations?

Today we celebrated Father’s Day in Annapolis with 2 and a half fathers. The Groom is about to become a Dad since his Bride is now 29 weeks along. I watched him with his own father and saw the easy camaraderie, the funny asides. I wanted to tell him not to worry, this is how you raise a girl:

Dance with her on your feet
Hide tiny presents around the house
Play ball in the late spring afternoon
Put her hair in French braids
Tell her about the stars and the planets
Listen to her between the words
Let her paint your toenails
Give her butterfly kisses

I know you’ll be a great Dad!

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He used to play the spoons in our kitchen to my utter delight. And every Saturday he would wash and wax that kitchen’s floor. The smell of floor wax makes me think of cartoons. Many nights, after cleaning up the dishes, he’d dance with me standing on his shoes to the radio. When he came home from work at four o’clock on the dot, he would always have a surprise – a flower, a small toy, a cookie. Every single day. One summer he made me a doll house out of Popsicle sticks. Almost every night we’d play gin rummy, followed by butterfly kisses and “Don’t let the bedbugs bite” good night. If I was sick in the night, he would stay up with me until I fell back asleep. He was the only father I ever knew, Daddy Jim.

My Dad was my hero. He would never spank me, but he would chase me around the house for a good “paddy wackin,” which meant catching me until I dissolved in giggles. He never raised his voice, unless he was house-training a puppy. We would sing I Wonder who’s Kissing Her Now in the car or maybe Casey’s at the Bat. If we drove under a bridge, we’d duck our heads. My foster Mom, Nell, couldn’t drive, so Daddy took me out into the world – to the butcher, and the bakery on weekends. And to Mass on Sunday, followed by a Rocky Road sundae and the papers at Zanelli’s.

I’m pretty sure he never finished grammar school, because he had to get a job to help support his big Irish family of eighteen children. But he was the sweetest, kindest man in the universe. In the few pictures I have, he is sitting reading a newspaper, with me underneath it; or this one, holding me and a puppy.

He didn’t pose, and only knew how to tell the truth. Too old to fight in WWII, he found a job at Picatinny Arsenal, helping trains navigate their labyrinth of tracks. He would answer the phone, “Transportation Man!” He and my biological father, a pharmacist, were buddies back in PA. Robert Norman Lynn died of a brain tumor when I was a baby, and Daddy Jim drove his wife Nell over the Delaware Water Gap to save me from going into an orphanage. My husband Bob always said, “Your Dad’s a hard act to follow!” Our son’s middle name is James.

He gave me a home, after mine fell apart, and most importantly, the capacity to love.

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