a day for fathers

We’re going away for the weekend to a far away land in BC called Quesnel. Scott’s cousin is getting married and it’s an eight hour drive to the wedding, so going away for the weekend goes without saying. I’m packing coloring books, crayons and Leapsters and already cringing at how many times I’ll have to hear “Are we there yet?”

Before we leave I want to say something about Sunday, the day of celebrating fathers. Something to mark the day for fathers who often get lost in the wake of mother’s day. I want to honor the fathers in my life.

I was told my dad used to cradle me in his arms and carry me around in the middle of the night to lull me to sleep. I liked to be near him. There’s evidence of this found in photos of us sitting side by side. He would crawl around on all fours and take me and my brothers for rides. He played street hockey with us, but he never said I love you. In my late teens I would tell him, I love you and there was never a, I love you too.

My very first I love you from my dad came when I was 23 in a hospital bed hovering between life and death. He shared this beautiful story of when I was brand new to the world. He told me how he had dedicated me to God and said, “She is yours first and mine second”. He told me this story in his well worn German broken with the language that wasn’t second nature to him, English. I relished every word and every emotion I could detect because it was rare and I wasn’t sure when his heart would open like this again. He said he prayed knowing he had already given me up to God when I was just a baby and wondered if God was going to make good on the dedication. He said God gave you back to us. He said, “I love you, Heidi.”

My dad is a quiet and complicated man. He is generous and he is, I believe, one of those tortured souls. Nobody can make me angry like my dad can, but I love him.

******

When Annie came into our lives Scott immediately took to Annie and her to him like two halves of a whole. She was a daddy’s girl as soon as she was born. They would lay together her new scrunched up face buried in the crook of his arm as he would try to get her to sleep and give me some relief. Nobody lights up Annie like Scott. Annie has never had a stuffy she has to sleep with. She never had much use for a pacifier. Scott is her security blanket. Her world turns when her daddy is at the center.

Benjamin is a lot like Scott with his blue eyes and his laidback approach to life. Ben is gentle, mischievous, and is rarely without a wide smile across his face. Nobody makes me laugh like Ben. His humor is his dad’s humor. Ben’s love for me is inherited too. The way they take the sting out of a bad day and the way they look at me like they can see right through me…nothing makes me feel like I’m made of steel or melts me the way they do.

As I grew up and broke away from my family to make my own family I came to understand my parents in a way I couldn’t before, but I also ended one legacy to make way for a new one – one where fathers talk to their daughters, one where I love yous are readily available and one where fear doesn’t build walls between you and the ones you love the most.

Flaws, quirks and all I want to honor my dad today and all dads where I love yous came later in life. I think I’m here and I’m doing as well as I am because of my father’s early prayers and his heart, while not always open, is steadfastly here…always present.

And to Scott: I’m so glad we’re navigating parenthood together. Annie and Ben are anchored because of you. Before Ben was born I felt that he would be God’s grace to me and that promise is being fulfilled. Scott, you are grace to me too.

Swept Up



I took these photos of all things blooming in my yard in early May.

Annie and Ben as we’re headed out the door to Annie’s ballet recital.

16 thoughts on “a day for fathers

  1. you gotta wonder

    Beautiful children, beautiful flowers, beautiful words. You've given me goosebumps in your telling of your father's love. Although mostly unarticulated, it certainly conveys.

    Have a fabulous weekend. Go with God. You are truly His.

  2. Kate Coveny Hood

    This was beautiful – and so is your family! That picture makes me feel the need to pinch cheeks. My lucky children are at daycare though…

  3. Jenn Bateman

    Love this. Good dads make such a huge difference. I know my dad did and I can see the way Jordan does to our girls.
    Great post!

  4. Jennifer H

    This is beautiful. I hope your children will read this someday, and know it's an echo of every I love you they've ever heard.

  5. Dorkys Ramos

    What a heartfelt post, Heidi! I'm so happy to hear how your father let himself be vulnerable even if just for a moment and let himself express how much love he has for you.

    And I love that you've used this to create a different environment for you and your family. Hope you guys have a lovely weekend 🙂

  6. Jennifer

    This post touched me so much Heidi.
    Your words about Scott and your father were beautifully put. My son, Sam, has been a special grace to me too, and I am so thankful for that. It would be fun to see our kids together and see if they wreak as much havoc as their dad's once did together!

  7. LiteralDan

    This is a very well-written post, and I hope you got as much out of writing it out as I did reading it. I read it after Maggie, Dammit shared it and I felt compelled to click over to note my gratitude here.

    I hope the trip went as well as can be expected!

  8. Ri. Short for Maria. Not pronounced like the bread.

    What a beautiful post – I guess it sounds terrible to say, but I envy you your closeness with your father. Give him an extra hug from me, please. 🙂

    I'm really going to enjoy your blog…I can tell already!

  9. bernthis

    what a beautiful post. My dad always had a tough time hugging. It hurt back then but now I get it and I love him for all that he can do and has done for me and my sisters

  10. Heidi

    Thank you, all!!

    Ri, i'm actually not very close to my dad, but over the years i've made peace with that and i just love him where he's at.

    to the newcomers, i'm off to check out your blogs now! 🙂

  11. Khaled KEM

    Heidi,

    This is a very touching post as you were talking (partially) about me and my father. I understand each word you wrote as I became a father myself almost a year ago.

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful thoughts.

  12. dawn

    a beautifully moving and poignant post. so wonderfully written with honesty, love and insight. i had a complicated relationship with my father but luckily before he died, we had been close for quite some time. i will always be grateful for the wonderful things he taught me and the gifts of life and love that he taught me.

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