My brother Rik said this at a party we had planned 16 years ago for my parents’ 50th Anniversary.
“The best gift a father can give his kids is to love his wife, and our father did that.”
Now with both parents gone I cannot separate one from the other; thoughts and memories of dad on Father’s Day, nor recollections of my mother on her special day. They were the best parents a person could have -a team, a balancing act of sorts -and by the way, the best example for preserving the sanctity of marriage. Every child deserves that balance and blend.
Some fond memories of my father:
- Waking up in the hospital around age 10 after my twin sister and I both had our tonsils out, and getting a glimpse- just a nanosecond before fading out again, of the yellow V-neck sweater I knew to be a favorite of my father’s. He was there then and at so many important times throughout my life.
- The expectation we would comport ourselves (outside the family at least), behaving in a particular manner, because my father was a Naval officer and that’s just the way it was.
- An ice-skating trip on a small pond in St. Louis where we once lived. All of us having a ball, “watch this dad, watch this!” and him somehow managing to keep us if not on our feet, at least romping and burning off steam -and out of my mother’s hair for an afternoon, which had really been the purpose of the endeavor.
- A stumble on the stairs and a near-miss, but saving the cheery pie he had won at a PTA meeting, a prize given to the parent having the most children (five in his case) in the school at one time!
- The importance of doing the right thing. “You will go to school today. I don’t care if it is the last day of school. They wouldn’t have school if they didn’t expect you to be there.”
Don’t be fooled. We were 5 rambunctious, often obnoxious, rowdy, smart-mouth kids. And we never knew why, but all our friends wanted to hang at our house. My parents were cool long before I knew it and luckily I figured it out before it was too late.