I am missing Dad tonight.
I’ve been reading tributes to dads on Facebook, with an especially nice video by Scott McGillivray. I interviewed him once and thought him a very nice person and that was confirmed with the video he made featuring himself with his daughters.
My dad cared, too — not in a sentimental way, but in a get-me-through-life kind of way.
He wanted me to be smart, and talented, and able to take care of myself. Mission accomplished, Dad.
He also wanted what most dads want for their kids. He wanted me to be safe and happy. He wanted all 10 of his kids to be safe and happy and he worried a lot about that.
I remember lectures about Stranger Danger. Even back in the ’50s and ’60s, he worried about the bad men out there who might grab his kids.
I remember lectures about being a leader. He loved to say, “If all your friends were jumping off a cliff, would you jump, too?”
No, but maybe I would have taken a helicopter. (And, no, I was never unwise enough to give him that reply.) Anyone who knows me can confirm that I learned Dad’s favorite lesson.
He went on endless college visits, determined that all of his kids would be college graduates, something he himself would have liked to be.
Mission accomplished, Dad.
Though he didn’t expect it, he hoped some of us would become gardeners. Most of us did, and none was more surprising to him than me. The year before he died, Dad looked at my green lawn and my flourishing flower beds and said, “I can’t believe how good your yard looks.”
“Well, I just did what you told me to do.”
“I give a lot of advice,” he said. “But hardly anyone follows it.”
I’m following it, Dad. I am in the garden, and sometimes I can feel you there, too.