Thank you all so much for your comments and stories about your dads! I laughed, I cried, I remembered.
Many of you talked about your dad’s sense of humor, saying, “He loved to laugh” or “Sarcasm was his strong suit”. Another reader shared, “My dad is funny and taught me the power of laughter. Once in intensive care and fighting for his life, he insisted on being funny for the nurses and family”.
One friend remembers her dad commenting, “You couldn’t put a down payment on a free lunch.”
Many remembered their dad’s good advice. “Life is precious”, you have to have “balance”, “keep reaching, and “keep the faith”. Some remembered their fathers as “firm but fair”.
There were many comments about being blessed to have our fathers and feeling lucky if our dad is still around.
Many said “he was a great man” or “I miss him”. Some said they miss “his wonderful hugs”. One reader wrote, “The best thing my dad said to me is “I am so proud of you!””
I loved this comment about the high school years. “I was being grilled about the previous night’s activities or a friend he didn’t think was a good influence. He would ask a straight forward simple question. After I answered his question with “I don’t know”, he would raise his voice with exasperation and say,” Well, who should I ask?” This usually lightened the mood and maybe even got a chuckle out of both of us!”
I love the practical advice. “You can win a game on free throws” and “You can’t get lost in Chicago, it’s a grid”. This one makes me laugh because it’s something my husband would say, probably when I am actually lost in Chicago and calling him for help. One friend’s father sat him down to have the “sex” talk and said, “There’s a lot of bad shit out there.” (That’s it, end of story.)
Many fathers said, “The older you get, the smarter your parents get” which is so true. One dad told his daughters to use their heads “for more than a hat rack” and “don’t take yourself too seriously”.
Another good piece of advice, “There is nothing out but trouble after 12 am so be home by midnight Cinderella”. I especially love that he added the “Cinderella”. Many dads had nicknames for their kids. My friend Maggie remembers her dad greeting her with, “What’s your story, morning glory?”
My dad loved to answer with a little quip. When we were out to lunch and someone mentioned a tip, my dad would say, “I’ll give you a tip. Stay out of jail.” One reader commented that when someone would say “Have a good day”, her dad would answer, “I always have a good day, can’t stand the other kind.”
It never failed for us when we were at a restaurant. My dad would get the bill and say, “Whoa…did somebody break a window?”
My friend said her dad would tell her, “I’m going to Minnie’s room to watch the parade” which now she realizes meant he was going to a bar with the guys.
One reader shared that her dad is battling pancreatic cancer yet he continues to fight with humor and grace. She said this has given her a lot of time to think about what he has taught her. Here are some of the lessons she shared: Perspective — as kids, when we were whining he would cut us off with “that is the saddest story I have ever heard”. I find myself using on my kids. Keep it in perspective! Being impressed by hard work — my dad gets choked up by a success of a new restaurant or story in the newspaper. Loyalty — my dad has always been there for me. Always. You are there for others. Humility — though brilliant and “well known” in his field you wouldn’t know it as Dad doesn’t brag of his successes, he makes others feel comfortable. Support — my dad is my biggest fan. That is a great feeling and allows me the courage to move ahead.
I was especially moved by stories about how much dads loved their wives (our moms). It is a real blessing to see this as a child. One friend commented that her dad would always say, “I love that woman” referring to his wife. They were married 49 years before he passed.
Love is the general theme here and of course, laughter too. We don’t always remember the exact words but we remember the feeling. We remember the smiles, the twinkling eyes and the hugs. I remember the feeling of knowing that my dad loved me no matter what happened. There was someone who would always be on my side, rooting for me, cheering me on, and telling me I was beautiful and smart and worthy.
My dad had many great lines including, “Don’t let anyone else spoil your good time”. I loved his simplicity. If I was throwing a temper tantrum about something, he would look at me and say, “Get serious”. Or before Sunday school each week he would ask me very seriously, “Who made the world?” and I would have to answer, “God made the world”.
Simple stuff…yet profound.
Thanks to all the dads out there. To all the dads that are in the midst of the diapers and strollers and bottles and sleepness nights…what you say matters, what you do matters. To all the dads out there in the middle of grade school and homework and sports and coaching…what you say matters, what you do matters. To all you dads in the middle of middle school and high school and hormones and battles and disciplining and wondering and fearing and hoping and praying…what you say matters, what you do matters. To all you dads out there with grown up kids who are dealing with joys and disappointments and college and jobs and marriages and grandkids…what you say matters, what you do matters. Because we never get too old for our dads.
You “lift us up” when we are young and you continue to lift us up as we grow.
I think my favorite thing my dad said was his answer to me when I would tell him I loved him. I would say, “I love you Dad” and he would answer, “I love you MORE.”
What a gift. Thanks Dad.
©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved