Dear Dad

Part of a parent’s job is to make us feel safe. Comforted.  Accepted. Loved. Hopefully, this gives us the ability to venture out into the big bad world with little fear.

You did that for me. Thank you.

When I try to visualize your face, I see your smile and your twinkling blue eyes — like we’re sharing a secret joke no one else would understand.   “See? Life is funny!” you chuckle.  “Isn’t it ridiculous? Let’s laugh about it. It’s gonna be all right, Punky.”

You helped me to always find the humor in life. Thank you.

When I think of the person you were, I remember a quiet, intelligent, loving man who stood up to do the right thing. You always wanted to help others. No matter where their life’s path had taken them or their circumstances. You weren’t scared, you just did it. Actions speak louder than words. You weren’t looking for praise or attention. You did it because it was the right thing to do. You once told me, “Who knows, one day they might turn around and help you when you need it most.” What you put out there will come back to you times a hundred.

You taught me to reach out and help others. Thank you.

You gave me the power of having an open mind, to see all sides to things. You allowed me to discover my beliefs on my own, to keep questioning and learning while always practicing respect for another point of view. You taught me that being gentle to myself and others takes strength. Kindness is more important than being right.

You gave me the gift of compassion, trust and faith.  Thank you.

Compassion for others starts within. If you’re not kind to yourself, you can’t be kind to others. You will never resolve negativity you feel with others in your life — anger, resentment, jealousy — until you resolve those issues within your own mind, your own soul. The ability to love myself is crucial if I want to fully love and be open to others in my life.

You showed me to trust in myself. To love myself. Thank you.

Today  would have been your 75th birthday. And I know that wherever you are, in my mind you’re still chuckling, calling me Punky, and telling me it will be all right. And I know it will.

Thank you for everything you taught me.

I am the person I am today, I am the mom I am today, because of you.

Happy birthday, Dad.

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81 thoughts on “Dear Dad

  1. Your posts about your Father always get to me, and not much does (well except when I welled up over a gardening show last week where they did up a family’s garden who had two kids who were partially blind)

  2. Le Clown

    Darla,
    You’re a versatile writer, and I am a sucker for nostalgia. When you write straight from your innards, you shake the living daylights out of me. And this last sentence will be sold to Hallmark and I will be rich. Beautiful.
    Le Clown

  3. Really nice post about your dad, makes me sentimental as I lost my dad 2 years ago….and he sounds similar to yours. By the way, I like your new formal…looks nice.

    1. I am so sorry you lost your dad as well. It’s been 22 years since my dad died and I still think about him all the time. But now, it’s more with a happiness and warmth in my heart than sadness. I know he’s still with me and I know I’ll see him again someday.

  4. A good dad can make all the difference. Yours did a great job for sure. I hope some day my own daughter thinks back fondly on my life’s rom time to time, and that when she does she’s proud to have called me her daddy.

    1. Don, you are a great dad, amazing police officer and kickass blogger. I’m certain your daughter is proud of you now and always will be. (dang…I’m getting all teary-eyed again…must write something funny for my next post)

        1. Oh, they are totally a hoot, Don. I will do that straight away.

          by the way…I saw you were FP, congrats! so well deserved. Your post was powerful. And not one mention of the word ‘vagina’! was this your first FP?

          1. Get out. I thought it was your second. Are you recovering yet? Have your replied to the hundreds of comments? Did you eat, drink or use a toilet in the last 48 hours?? Get a beer can hat, they work great.

  5. Daddy’s girls are awesome people. Fearless, hilarious, compassionate, confident. What a gift it is to have a man in our lives who shows us qualities worth emulating and who shows us its okay to fail. Exactly what parents should do. This is a true love tribute to your father, Darla.

    1. Oh, how I love your comment, Honie. My compassion knows no bounds, but sometimes I think I feel things too much and too strongly, especially when I see someone is being treated unfairly or disrespectfully.

  6. being a parent is the only job we have to get right – I am glad my parents did what they did for me, at the time I was ungrateful, much like my own kids are now, for what I had and what I was given – love, direction, advice, and discipline… sounds like you and I had the same dad. Nice post. Happy Birthday.

    1. I am happy to know you had a similar dad. And this is so true–our kids might not see just how much we have taught them in life until they are much older and can look back and appreciate all those lessons we’ve tirelessly tried to teach them. Unfortunately, I knew earlier just how blessed I was when he died suddenly. That alone was a big lesson for me–always love and appreciate your parents while they’re still here.

  7. What a sweet and lovely tribute to your dad. He would be enormously proud of you, Darla. Everything he tried to teach you comes shining through in your life and your writing. Well done.

  8. Darla, your father’s gifts were clearly passed onto you. Especially the gift of compassion. Your ability to empathize and really ‘hear’ what people are saying sets you apart. What a rich legacy he’s given you.

  9. Snoring Dog Studio

    Lovely, Darla. Your dad would be so proud of you for all you’ve accomplished and for the beautiful family you’re helping to raise.

  10. Dear Darla, thank you for this, it is beautiful and compassionate. Thank you and Happy Birthday to your father because without him we wouldn’t have you and that would leave us with a terrible empty space.

  11. Beautiful, Darla. Happy birthday to your dad!! Whenever you write about your father, your words touch our hearts and this time it was no different.
    “Kindness is more important than being right.” -This piece of advice from your dad shows his character. I will remember this line forever.

  12. Thank you for the lovely words! I needed them today. My father died 35 years ago 8/19 and I still miss him greatly. And it sounds like he was very like your father in what he taught and instilled in his daughter. Although I have spent almost 2/3 of my life without my dad, he does live in me and your words helped me remember that.
    Big hugs to you.

    1. I’ve no doubt you do miss your dad as much today as you did when he died so long ago. This will never change for me either, and it’s been 22 years since my dad died. So sorry you know this grief and loss.

      It’s funny, sometimes I think of him and try to remember how he sounded or looked and lately it hits me pretty hard when I see my own kids growing up without ever knowing him as their grandfather This is what usually sets me off to crying and just wishing he was here. But what helps is I know he really is around in spirit and I have faith I will see him again someday.

      1. That’s exactly how I feel. I come across special events and wish he’d lived to see them. When he was growing up, he wanted to go to college, but his father was a farmer who only made it to 6th grade. He didn’t see the importance of a college education. So, my father was determined his children would go to college. Unfortunately, my father died at the beginning of my sophomore year. But I did graduate and felt him with me when I crossed the stage. I just wish I could have seen his face. He would have been overjoyed. And he also didn’t live to see his grandchildren. My nephews never knew how truly wonderful he was. He would have been a fantastic grandfather.
        We are both very lucky to have had fathers who had such an impact on us.

  13. Darla… No more making me cry! Your posts about your dad always do that to me. I am so impressed with the relationship you had, and I really enjoy hearing your stories about him. You describe him in such a loving way. This line, “Kindness is more important than being right” speaks volumes as to how he lived his life. I know he is feeling your birthday wishes today, and your love always.

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