A Glimpse Into The Past and Father’s Day

As you must know by now, my Dad is my best friend. He’s been the glue that keeps things moving smoothly, the comic relief, and the man who helped me raise my kids when their own father couldn’t be bothered to even write or call.

Dad and I haven’t always been close. That wasn’t his choice, nor mine. I know people get sick of the blame always being placed upon the mother, but in this case it was definitely my mother’s fault.

When I was a little girl, my mother pretty much had me scared to death of my Dad. She would comment things like, “Don’t let your Dad hear you say that,” or “Better clean up that mess before your Dad gets home.” She always ended those warnings with remarks about being spanked or sent to my room. I don’t recall my bedroom ever being messy. I remember Dad sometimes working overtime and not being home for dinner. In order to get me to finish everything on my plate, Mom would warn me of the consequences if I didn’t finish by the time Dad came home. Often she gave me portions that I’m positive were too big for my little tummy. I was a scared little girl.

When I was a little older, Mom kept me in line much the same way. She always made Dad out to be the bad guy. One time I was 5 minutes late from walking home from school and she told me how lucky I was that Dad wasn’t home! I remember running home from school many times after that to avoid the wrath of my father. Of course, Dad was never the authoritarian meany-head Mom made him out to be.

When I was around 12 or 13 years old, I wanted to start shaving my legs and Mom showed me how but told me, “Just don’t tell your Dad. He’ll be mad as hell.” And when I started wearing makeup, I sneaked it because I knew what she would say. I would buy a little makeup with my babysitting money and put it on when I got to the bus stop in the mornings, and took it off on the bus on the way home from school.

I could go on with more examples but you get the idea. There was a lot of manipulation going on.

Dad and I became closer as I entered adulthood. Somehow, Mom knew then that she couldn’t do what she had always done. She had lost her control. Once she left us (her family) behind and left the state, things began to change. I don’t know how anyone could be afraid of my Dad. I don’t know how I could have ever been so afraid of him. It just goes to show you how impressionable small children are. Dad was never anything but fun and funny – if you can visualize a 6-foot tall man riding a tricycle, then you’ll get a good idea of what I mean.

Dad is much older now, 83 and counting. He’s been a great Dad even when Mom made him out to be strict and mean. He’s been there for me when shit has hit the fan full force, and has been there for my kids as they were growing up. I don’t know what I would have done without him.

For Father’s Day this year, I collected funds from my children, my sisters, I threw in my share, and purchased a pole chain saw for Dad. I had extra funds so I also added a battery and charger for the pole saw. He won’t use a regular chain saw anymore. He’s wise enough to know that it would be dangerous for an 83 year old man who sometimes loses his balance to use one. A pole saw is a bit safer since a stumble would result in the saw part landing further away from him. He just needs to remove some tall bushy limbs off some shrubs and trees around the house. Nothing real major. I will keep an eye on him like I always do.

To end the day, my son, his wife and little boy came to visit. They brought wine. Dad loves wine. The Hudster (my grandson) warmed up to us quite nicely. He doesn’t see us often so prior to this visit, he was a bit leery of us. Dad and I both got hugs and The Hudster was playful and silly. I enjoyed the visit as much as Dad did. Dad loves playing with little kids, always has. I hope he has many years left to play!

Take care of your fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and all the father figures in your life. They have shaped the person you’ve become. You won’t have them forever. Treasure the stories and the memories. Happy Father’s Day, to all the great fathers out there and especially to my Dad – the BEST FRIEND and FATHER a daughter could ever have!

Dad, as a young man fresh out of high school. Age 18.
Dad and baby me… He was making me laugh way back then!
Dad, 2020, age 83.

A Nice Surprise

A few weeks ago, I was thinking of a woman I was friends with back when I was pregnant with my daughter. This woman was my neighbor, my best friend and someone I could count on at any time. In fact, I did count on her for many things. She was there for me all the times my ex was being a real jackass. She was there for me throughout my pregnancy. She drove me to the doctor all the times my daughter was sick, when I was without a car and living out in the country. She brought me a real Christmas tree on Christmas Eve one year when we couldn’t afford one. She watched the baby for me when my ex wouldn’t make time, so I could shower. She took my kids to the park one evening when my ex and I were fighting. Gosh, there were so many things she did for me. I hope I was as good a friend to her as she was to me. I hope she knows how much her friendship meant to me.

I had been hoping to reconnect with her after all these years. It’s been 15 years or so since I last saw her or heard from her. I spent the better part of a day, searching Facebook and MySpace, Twitter and the Yellow Pages – problem was I knew she had remarried and I didn’t know her last name. I tried searching for her boys. They were all small when we knew each other. There were three of them; the oldest was only 7 when we first met, the youngest was about 8 months older than my daughter and the middle child was about 4 or 5. They use to call me Aunt Debbie! I tried to find them. I searched Facebook and MySpace, Twitter and the Yellow Pages looking for them. It was difficult because the names were so common and I really didn’t know what they looked like any more. I was discouraged after many hours. Would I ever connect with any of them again?

This morning, I was catching up on some sleep. I’ve been sick and hadn’t been sleeping well. My daughter woke me up and told me I had a phone call.

It was my good friend’s oldest son. I was really happy to hear from him! He took the time to look me up! He found me on MySpace. (Thank the heavens for the age of MySpace and other social networking sites on the internet! Thank the heavens for the internet!)

He still called me Aunt Debbie! It was a great conversation. We talked for half an hour or more. He told me about his brothers, his mom and his own children. He’s in Iraq right now, working as a medic in the Army.  He’s been in the Army for 11 years! I pray he comes home safe, to his family and friends. He may come visit me when he comes home. It will be totally awesome to see him again. We have connected on Facebook and MySpace and will definitely keep in touch. He has put me in touch with his brothers and his mother. I can’t wait to talk to them all!

I like surprises, nice ones that is, and this was most definitely one of the nicest.

The Loves of My Life

I know I’ve told all the people in my life how much they mean to me. I hope they heard me. I’d hate to leave this world without them understanding the love and laughter they have brought to my life. I’d hate for them to leave this world and not know how truly loved and appreciated they are by me.

My Dad, who is also my best friend, taught me many things in my life. He taught me to never be late, to always have a sense of humor and to just be myself. He is very special to me. He’s always been there for me and helped me raise my children when their father opted to drop off the radar. He’s a good man, a bit on the silly side, but he’s MY Daddy and I love him.

S.R., my daughter and my oldest child, is a very complex person. She has a sensitive side but she hides it and she hides it well. I raised her to be strong and make her own decisions. I raised her to be kind and generous. I also raised her not to take any crap from anyone. And she doesn’t. I love her unconditionally even though we haven’t always seen eye to eye. She has made some bad choices in her life as we all have but that’s how we learn. I’m proud to call her my daughter, and I will always love her with every inch of my being.

My son, C.F., is a kick in the pants! He has a strange sense of humor and can be very warped at times. He is my baby and he doesn’t like it much when I call him that. After all he’s 20 years old. He is very sensitive, like his sister, but rarely shows it. I can see it in him, when others may not. He tries very hard to be a tough guy – he wears his hair long, has tattoos and piercings and people see him as a tough guy. Some of his co-workers are even afraid of him! I know him differently than they do. I raised him to be kind to animals and learn from them. I raised him to treat people with respect, unless of course they don’t respect him. I raised him to be strong and independent. I’m proud to be his mom. I love him with all of my heart and soul.

My grand children will always have a special place in my heart — forever. No question. They light up my days and make me feel young again, although at the end of the day I can really feel my age! They make me laugh, they make me cry and they can really get on my nerves! I love them dearly and wouldn’t trade my time with them for anything else in this world.

My younger sisters, who were royal pains in my ass when we were growing up, have become my dearest friends and I couldn’t have gotten through the last year without their love and support. They helped me to deal with things that no mother would ever want to have to deal with. They were my shoulder to cry on; although far away. They made me laugh when things were gray. They told me things will get better and they reassured me that I am a good mother, a good friend, sister and person. I cherish my sisters and I hope they know how much I love them.

A.B., who is not my child, but I think of her as my own. I’ve been calling her my “other daughter” for many years now. I love her and wish for her the very best things in life. I hope she knows that I am here for her when her family stabs her in the back again. She deserves better than that. No matter what the relationship between A.B. and my son, I will always think of her as my “other daughter,” and I’m proud to be part of her life.

These are the people who are the closest to my heart. Of course there are those who have passed on, like Mom, Granny, Nana and Papa, Aunt Helen, Cousins John M. and John D. and my great-great grandmother…..all of whom I think about often. There are close friends like Becky, Fawn, Terri, Teri, Andrew and more; I hope they realize how important they are to me. There are also the people who were my in-laws at one time. I doubt that I will ever have anything good to say about my ex ever again, but his family was my family. I’ve missed them a lot since we moved away.

So many people, so little time on this earth. I don’t think my job is done here.