In honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to take a moment to salute all you wonderful fathers out there – especially my own.
My dad cracks me up – I remember when I bought my car a few years ago, about a year after I bought it I had to take it in for some service work and while it was at the dealership, one of the mechanics called and told me I needed new front brakes. I said ok and told him to go ahead and change them out. On my way home from work that day, I called mom and dad just to say hi and while I was on the phone told my dad that in addition to the service work I had taken it in for, I had them put front brakes on my car as well. He got upset at the fact that I hadn’t told him I needed front brakes. I told him that I honestly didn’t know and that it was the dealership who told me that I needed them. He then told me that next time I needed front brakes, to call him and let him know and he’d put them on for me himself. I said “ok”.
So a couple years down the road, I alerted him that my front brakes were squeaking and needed to be changed. He groaned and grumbled about having to change them but he did. My mom told me her dad (my grandfather) was the same way. He’d grumble when he had to do work on her car, but would be outraged if she took it to someone else to get the work done LOL
The last couple of years my dad’s health has been so that I haven’t wanted to ask him to do any heavy work on my car. I told him so. He’s been a blue collar worker his whole life, working on machines, cars, and tractor trailers and it’s started to take it’s toll on his muscles and joints. I told him I didn’t mind if he wanted to change the oil on my car, but for anything bigger than that I was going to take the car to a mechanic to get the work done because I didn’t want him to get hurt doing any work on my car that would cause him pain later. When we had that talk, for the first time in my life I could see the resignation in my dad’s eyes that he couldn’t do everything he used to do because he would hurt from doing it. I know that had to be hard for my dad to accept, because – even though he would grumble about doing things around the house that my mom needed him to do, or gripe at having to do work on our cars – he wanted to have the ability to still do it. Heck, we’ve all been that way. When we get older there are certain things we did even five years ago that we can no longer do. For a father who enjoyed – even though he wouldn’t admit it – taking care of the ‘manly’ things that the women of the house couldn’t do, I’m sure the realization that he couldn’t do certain things like he used to was a bitter pill to swallow.
My dad’s job is a tractor trailer mechanic, so he is still working on them – but once he’s off the clock mom and I dont ask him to do work on our cars anymore. But he always wants to know if there are any problems so he can ‘inspect’ the car to see what it is so when we take them in for repairs the mechanics don’t pull a fast one and start adding on stuff.
Dad helps me out in a different way now – the way he did before I started driving. He’ll come over and fix things I have broken or messed up, he’ll install blinds for me, he fixed my bedroom closet door, and just last week recommended some solutions for my ant problem. When we talk on the phone now, he’s always asking me “Are your doors locked?” “Yes dad.” “Is your alarm set?” “Yes, dad.”
Dads never stop helping their kids – whether it’s manual labor they do, or making sure they’re locked in safely in their house. As a daughter, I can’t put into words how knowing my dad cares about me and love me makes me feel confident as well as safe. Even though my dad can’t do some of the things he used to do, he’s found different ways to still be a dad and it’s worked out fine. But most importantly, it’s not about what dad can literally do for you. It’s knowing that he cares and loves you enough to worry about you and do those things that means the most.
It used to be that my dad was one of those hold-back-on-showing-tender-emotion types who rarely ever said “I love you.” For years, I’d say to him every now and then, “Dad, how come you never tell me you love me?” And he’d always answer “You know I love you – I don’t have to say it.” It’s only been in the last seven or so years that he has been saying those words regularly to me that I always wanted to hear: “I love you.”
I love you, too, dad. Happy Father’s Day.