Monday, June 16, 2014

A Tribute to My Father

I was blessed to be able to spend yesterday with my father and mother. Lately my gift to them on special days, and their gift to me, is me going to their house and bringing a meal to share. It's so much nicer than going out with all the other people in a noisy restaurant or competing with traffic. By going to their house and bringing a meal we can sit down together in a quiet environment and actually visit for several hours with each other. I can catch up with their lives and really feel like we took time to connect in a genuine way.

My father is in his 80's. Though his body doesn't do all the things it used to do, his mind is still sharp and that has always been the thing I loved about him most. He has been integral to my formation as a woman, a thinker, a philosopher, a political and religious being. It's been an interesting journey with me believing everything he believed as a child, then some separation of beliefs as a young adult, and then him coming around to agree with some of my beliefs as an adult. We don't always agree, but we mostly do.

Because my father is such a wonderful man, I believe it helped to form my good opinion of men in general. It made me feel comfortable around men as friends and helped me to be an equal in my career and in my marriage. I believe that girls and young women can really benefit from a consistent, loving male figure in their life--whether that is a father, brother, uncle or whoever. I'm just very glad I had a father through all of it. He and my mother were there at my birth, all birthdays, graduations, hospitals, good and bad dates, marriage, divorce, marriage again. With nine children, I'm still in awe that they had time for each of us--enough time so that we each knew we were loved for exactly who we are not some preconceived notion of who we should be.

Dad is not perfect, and the older we both get the more we realize how imperfect we both are. But that makes me love him all the more. I've learned so much about how to age even when the body is fighting; and how to act even when life isn't perfect. I've learned how to persevere in sadness and how to celebrate in good times. I've learned how to overcome my shortcomings and not beat myself up about them all the time. This is because he (and my mother) has modeled this.

Though I didn't always understand how or why he could forgive certain actions from each of my siblings, the fact that he could told me that my transgressions could be forgiven too. I know how rare it is to have a parent (and I have two of them) who loves you no matter what--who see the best in you--even when you do stupid things.

Thanks Dad!


Jessa Slade said...

What a love tribute, and how awesome you can spend such quality time with your parents. Enjoy every moment!

Maggie Lynch said...

Thanks, Jessa. I am really fortunate. My mother was the oldest of 5 children (4 girls and a boy). Each of my aunts husbands have died in the past three years. It is truly amazing that both my parents--the oldest of the family are still here with us. Maybe having 9 kids and now I can't even count how many grandkids and great grandkids keeps them young. :)