I am the lucky recipient of a father who is everything a father should be… strong, protective, loving, proud and approachable. Of course, growing up there were times that those qualities were lost on me, especially in the teen years, but truth be told in an imperfect world my father is a perfect Dad for me.
He is my hero, the toughest man on earth with a heart of gold when it comes to those he loves. He weathered many rough storms both in his personal life and especially over the course of his career where he proudly served as a Police Officer. He did the best he could always, and the best he could was always more than enough for me…
As I got older and more involved with my own trials and tribulations: getting married, raising children, getting divorced, going through an illness, it was always a comfort to know he was there to catch me when I fell. I can honestly admit that at many of those times I gave no thought to that fact, I took for granted the safety net that always enveloped me. It was commonplace, I was born with it, it was a part of my structure that I need not think about.
Years have flown by, I’m at the age now where my own children are finding their way through life with no thought of the safety net I keep around them. They struggle, they fall and they succeed sometimes blindly, trusting in the unseen embrace I’ve now put around them. I wouldn’t have it any other way, although truth be told, who knew it was so hard to be so strong all of the time? Who knew the heartache that was sometimes behind the hero who protects?
My father retired several years ago. I think at times it was quite the adjustment for him to be home, he has always been a doer. Proficient in electronics and enjoying the art of googling and all that is techie, he took up interests that sustain his quest for knowledge and keep him busy and in the loop. Affectionately called “Gadget Man” by me and the “Guru of Vitamins,” his most prominent role has been “The Weatherman”… Both my children and I have been the recipients of his weather reports daily for several years via text and/or email. If it’s an exceptionally fun forecast, we may even receive several updates throughout the day.
A few weeks ago, I was told that one of my children didn’t respond to the ‘weather’ text, and my Dad asked if she was okay? It struck me that day that these abundant weather updates have had absolutely nothing to do with the sun shining or rain pouring down. They were an effort to still keep the net around me in some capacity, while extending it to my children as well. Time can sometimes steal some of our superpowers, but never our drive to protect and remain connected.
A simple, “sunny but cold out there” really means “I’m making sure you’re okay, so that I can rest easy today.”
I tell my children, and I painfully realize myself, that someday you may desperately long for that text to tell you what the weather is doing for that day. I tell them that no matter what, send back an acknowledgement, even if it’s just a thumbs-up or smiley face. That’s all that is needed… Or better yet, send back an “I love you too” because we all know that the text had absolutely nothing to do with the weather…