Reflecting on Father’s Day

Dad and meMy relationship with my father hasn’t always proved a smooth ride. We’ve both lugged around our blind spots and buried pain. Yet as people tend to do, we’ve also grown up over the last fifty-some years, learned a thing or two about forgiveness, gratitude, and love.

When I reached the wise old age of twenty, my eyes opened to the idea that parents weren’t perfect. That new perspective loosened some of the emotional chains of expectation. I could view their opinions and reactions within the context of their generation and upbringings. This altered understanding gave me permission to travel my own journey without my inner critic’s disapproval hanging over my head.

dad and me 2In my thirties, I experienced another “duh” moment when I realized that parents continue to grow and learn throughout their lives. I am now their age, and the silly, narrow-mindedness of my previous level of understanding is downright embarrassing. Yet there you have it.

In my forties, I learned that there’s no going back to unsay old words and unhurt old wounds. What I most wanted was a trip back in time, a redo, a gift impossible for him to give me.  To wrestle our relationship from the muddy past required compassion, and forgiveness for mistakes neither of us can change, no matter how hard we may wish to.

As I worked in my garden this Father’s Day, I found myself reflecting on the many things I learned from my father that have enriched my life. Despite our struggles, there were hidden blossoms among the weeds that occasionally crowded our paths. I thought I’d share a few:

A love of the outdoors
Respect for diversity
Kindness toward all living things
A passion for reading
A lifelong fondness for power tools
To work with integrity
To grow vegetables
That money isn’t important
That I can do anything I put my mind to
That it’s possible to change
And never too late to say I love you.

Love you, dad.

39 thoughts on “Reflecting on Father’s Day

  1. Passions says:

    The pictures are beautiful. And a fantastic tribute to your Dad… Hugs and smiles 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A lovely, honest and touching Father’s Day tribute. The pictures are wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hsampson says:

    This was beautiful! Thank you:

    I know you are so used to this but I would like to nominate you for the Encouraging Thunder Award, please take a look here: http://wp.me/p5trJ-pS. And don’t feel pressured to do it. It is just my way to say I love your blog! Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cat says:

    Your post resonates with me and I particularly related to the “loosening those chains of expectation”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Erik says:

    As a mentor to teens and young adults, they are at that age where they are quick to let you know how awful or stupid their parents are. I’m famous for saying, “Your parents are just teens in older bodies; cut them some slack.” And it’s true. As you said, Diana (though some choose not to take it or have mental illness that prevents them from such), we are ALL allowed the process of learning and growing.

    And speaking of mentoring, while I know your primary goal here is to write about writing, you are also in many ways serving as a mentor by sharing your thoughts openly, being transparent and responding with encouragement to each person who chooses to join the conversation. My hat is off to you for the special care you give to your readership.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Erik. That’s high praise that I’m not sure I deserve. I will admit to adoring my readers and I hope that comes through. As a person who waffles between hope and despair for the human race, I have found nothing but beautiful souls in my blogging journey. Oh, I guess that includes you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A very enjoyable read and lovely tribute to your father. My father is now going through dementia but it appears he has only happy memories left to hold on to, which is good.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What good-looking parents and pretty baby in that photo. It was more a shock for me to learn my brother, 20 years older than me, wasn’t perfect than that my parents weren’t. My mother idealized him during WWII when he was away in the Navy. I was the baby and my parents and I got along well. In those days kids usually didn’t argue with parents who were that much older, 40 and 44 years. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. betternotbroken says:

    Beautiful post. It is a blessing and a freedom to realize your parents aren’t perfect, even if the realization hurts.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Ocean Bream says:

    A beautiful read, as I expected! What would we be without our fathers?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Beautiful, universal truths 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. A lovely tribute to your dad, Diana. It is always good to embrace the change over the years. In the end, I believe my own father saw us as friends, and that was an achievement for us both. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Van. I remember posts of yours where I felt some kinship of experience. What a journey. I think the process of writing over the years facilitates an ability to step back and reflect with curiosity. Thanks as always for your comment.

      Like

  12. philipparees says:

    A gift to more than your father in this confessional. I never had one of those ( a father) and the absence of same burned everybody. I was a millstone to a mother deprived of the life she had hoped for ( got me instead) and the space had to be filled by a lot of duties by others to fill the void. There is no perfect family, and sometimes the devil you know is the grit in the oyster that forges a pearl. This post would suggest that.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. My father had three daughters… heaven help him.. just wanted to let you know that the Five Star Treatment is up and getting busy on the usual haunts.. hugs https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/five-star-treatment-the-melding-of-aeris-by-d-wallace-peach/

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Dan Hen says:

    Lovely tribute to your dad . We should all see our parents from such realistic perspectives . Going back to re-do ? And take all of the real life out of it ? No.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. balroop2013 says:

    Wow! you learnt so much from your dad…the best that love transcends all differences and hurts. You are blessed!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. I don’t know how intentional his teaching was, but the lessons I learned were part of him and the life of our family. There were things that needed to be unlearned as well, but those matter less as they weave into the tapestry of our past. They are the shadows that give life depth.

      Like

  16. Relationships between fathers and daughters are always so complicated! Same as you I’m figuring out more and more of this stuff as time goes by (I’ve a way to go though as I only just turned the big 3-0 recently). There’s something quite wonderful to reach the understanding that your parents, same as you, are just trying to do the best they can and messing up along the way at times.
    A very lovely post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Celine for reading. I find it interesting how blind I am to the emotional webs that connect me to the most important people in my life. They are so layered and tied up with identity. It’s a relief when the “stuff” peels away and compassion and love are what’s left.

      Like

  17. Heartafire says:

    a very fine tribute and declaration to the very intricate relationship between fathers and daughters!

    Liked by 2 people

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