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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Who's Your Daddy?

Today is Father's Day. I have been thinking about this day a lot this week. As a society we celebrate Mother's Day with all the bells, whistles, flowers, cards, ribbons, and bows we can find. But Father's Day seems to come around with a little less festivities. Why is that? Fathers are just as special and important as mothers, are they not?

My mother and biological father divorced when I was a small child, probably around 3. I do not remember much about that time of my life, which is probably a good thing from what I understand. My mother, brothers, and I came back from California on a train to Kansas where my grandparents lived. On a previous trip home to Kansas, during a separation from my bio Dad, my mother met a man that she became friendly with. When we returned to Kansas after the divorce, this man came calling and he became our stepfather.

Not many men during the 1960's would marry a woman with 3 children under the age of 4, but he did not hesitate. He loved my mama and loved us as well. We moved to Oklahoma into his house and thus began our life as a family. It was not perfect, by far, but my Daddy was one of the smartest men that I have ever known. He worked hard to provide for our family and there was never a doubt that he loved us.

He always introduced me as his daughter, even though I was as white as a sheet and he was a full Cherokee Indian. He had a great sense of humor and his carpentry skills were phenomenal. His attention to detail when he was building something were incredible. Though he never had formal schooling beyond 6th grade, his math skills were unbelievable.

He loved being Pawpaw when we had our first child. He had nicknames for both of our children just like he did for my youngest brother, Buster. He called our daughter "Squirt-squirt" and our son "Bubuski". They adored their Pawpaw.

The day he died was one of the worst days of my life. Most likely he had a massive stroke or heart attack as he drove down the highway. He was a retired trailer mechanic and worked as a handy man for the "elderly", which is kind of ironic, because he was 78 at the time. Fortunately, he went quickly. I have great satisfaction in knowing that my Daddy died as a child of God and was carried into the waiting arms of Jesus.

I did not know my biological father well. I had seen a him few times at my grandmothers growing up. It really wasn't that I did not want to see him, it was just that he was not around to see. He did not see the rest of his family much and did not see his children either. He was the type of man who made lots of promises, but did not keep them. There were other circumstances that kept him away as well, but that is not a conversation to be had today.

As an adult, he called me a few times after I married, but he was under the influence of alcohol and those conversations did not go well. I decided that it was best that we not talk. I did not hear from him again until the death of my mother. After she passed away, I went to see him. More out of curiosity and in search of answers than out of love. What I found was an old man who was sorry for the way things turned out. He was very ill and said that he loved me. He kept calling himself "my Daddy", but in reality, I knew that was not so. He was more like a friend. My earthly Daddy died earlier that year. We kept in touch up until his death of cancer two years ago. And I am glad of that for both of our sakes.

Then there is my heavenly Father in whom all things are possible. Earlier this year I was asked "who is the Father to you?" That is a potent and powerful question that every Christian should have to answer and ultimately will have to. To me the Father is the "Daddy" that I go to in prayer, praise, and need. He is the reason I am here and do what I do. He goes before me each day and guides my path. He will be waiting for me at the gates of heaven with my earthly Father and biological Father.

WOW... what a day that will be!!!!

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