Today's musings are a tribute to my dad on his special day.
To begin with I would like to show you a picture of my dad, Roy Smalley. Isn't he handsome? Yes, I know this was taken just before I committed to going gray. But, more to the point, no one can believe my dad is 80+. He and my mom both look amazingly younger than their ages. I think the only explanation for this is that they have always maintained a positive attitude; come what may. And they have worked at a healthy lifestyle. That's not to say that they haven't both taken some hits but what astounds me is that they never stay down for long. They are the most resilient twosome I have ever known. I also need to add that they have shared 61 years of deep devotion to their marriage. I know this has positively impacted their health and their pursuit of happiness.
I think most would agree that I look just like my dad. I think that is a genuine compliment and I am always happy to hear that. My mom is strikingly gorgeous so I would be equally happy to look like she, but God happened to use my dad's mold when he created me and this has always served me well.
So perhaps you are wondering what kind of dad he was; like, how was he as a nurturer? Before I discuss that at length I must tell you that according to my mom he wasn't big on the diaper-change thing. I'm not sure he ever changed one (though he must have, right?). We should cut him some slack, in fairness, because we're talking 1955 after all. I'm not sure Ozzie Nelson or Ward Cleaver ever changed a prime-time diaper either.
When I think about my young life with my dad I think about two things. The first is that he was forced to be away from our family a lot. My dad was a professional baseball player and travel is just part of that game. After retiring from his professional sports career he began his own business. And although he was headquartered close to home, he was rarely at home; at least during those crucial start-up years. I missed him so much. I wonder now if he knew that then.
The second thing that I know is how loving he was; and is. I was never afraid of my dad--ever--not at any age. And there has never been any topic (even embarrassing girl stuff) that I couldn't talk to my dad about. Now truthfully, how many women can say that about their dad?
What I treasure the most about my dad and our relationship is that he has always validated me. According to things I've read, a father's validation is essential to a young woman's self esteem and success in her own marriage. My dad likes who I am and he has always expressed that. Do you know how huge that is? The fact that he tells me? Of equal significance is the fact that he never made me feel conditionally loved. I wasn't loved because I was academically successful or hardworking, or popular with my friends. And I wasn't unloved when I gained weight, made a bad choice, or was generally unlovable. I am not suggesting that he wasn't a disciplinarian. Although my mom was the 'enforcer' because she was at home, I knew my parents were a united team. I also knew that my mom sought and valued my dad's input in all areas of parenting. Both my parents are wise and they parented skillfully.
I will tell you that my dad and I are polarized, or close to it, in some pretty big areas; politics and spiritual orientation. Hey, we've mixed it up on more than one occasion and we both have to exercise an extra measure of self-control every four years. But doesn't the very fact that we can vehemently disagree at dinner and wake up the next morning happy to be having a cup of coffee together speak volumes about our father-daughter bond? Of course it does. And a bond it is.
Hey, speaking of Bond, my dad is also a martini drinker; and so suave. But unlike James Bond, my dad's martinis are stirred, not shaken. Hmmm...I'm not sure about onion vs. olive.
I have known my dad 56 years and I know my dad can't be shaken. He is my rock and always will be. There is no luckier woman (although my brother's girls might argue with me). And at the risk of sounding boastful, I know that my dad feels proud to introduce me as his daughter.
I love you Dad. Happy Father's Day to you and to all dad's.
Enjoy your day and stop by again soon. At our house we feature good coffee and great conversation.