I am blessed in "dad's." I have had, and still have, many dad's. I have their unique strength and humor, their charming goofiness, their reminders to look after number one (which women often forget to do), their playfulness, and their ability to protect, and devote hard work.
I consider my step-dad, who is passed away, a man who taught me to feel incredibly valued, and safe, because he would have moved mountains if I were ever in trouble.
He took the actions that dad's take for their children. If you want to know if a dad person loves you, notice what he does. And he loved my mom well. That's important.
If people tried to take advantage of me he'd say, "Well, I'd get me an understanding." He meant get out there and make it clear you deserve and expect better.
Now I go regularly to his gravesite to be sure it's trim and clean, the way he would want it. Because he had dignity and self-respect.
I went to graduate school in the midwest, where the river levees just broke, casting people into shock, exhaustion, and disarray, flooding entire towns, flooding the fields that grow corn and soy for the rest of us-- everyone is stunned. You don't imagine that what keeps your town dry and safe just...breaks. I won't go into all the why's and disappointments about that. Except to say I lived it in New Orleans, and I am deeply distressed that now people are living it all over again, in the midwest. Our levees are not solid.
What I do see on the news is men...I expect most of them are dad's and grand dads....hundreds and hundreds of them...primariily men...wading through floodwater, driving boats on floodwater to rescue homeowners, rescuing animals, protecting power stations, tossing sandbags, risking their health and safety and comfort and leaving their families, to go protect their world. That's what men do, and that's what they've always done. You see on the internet all the soaked, tired, dedicated men, working to save towns, save people, save cats and fawns and cows and homes. I so admire them. I'm so grateful to them.
I was going to drive up there and help. Being I was in New Orleans and watched with utter disbelief while my community drowned, I understand how it feels. I know they need helping hands. A city official, a woman, told me they might evacuate the city by time I could get there, and the highways I'd take to arrive are flooded, too. I still intended to go. It's my beloved university town, a city that gave me so much, and I wanted to "pay forward" some of the help I got from individuals when my life flooded.
Then I got an email from another "dad"...82 years old, my former department head. Quite a guy. His note read, "Don't come up here while it's flooded."
He's doing what Dad's do. Telling me to stay away from harm. Even though he's there in it. He's not suggesting, wondering, or weighing options. He's TELLING me: do not come into harm's way.
So, I won't. Because dad's know what' s safe and what is not, and they need to know they have protected others. I feel it's in their genes and it's their right, to feel protective toward others.
That may offend some ladies who know women do incredible things. Let's talk about that on Mother's Day. There are women out there facing that flood. There are women at war, right now. There are women going without so their children can eat or have shoes. There are everyday women doing everyday things that are amazing.
But it's Father's Day. All to say....it's okay that men are men.
I'm thinking about the special, fabulous comfort and security good men work all their lives to provide. How men face danger and trouble, work hard, sacrifice, and endure... for the sake of everything they love and value. How much I admire and feel warmed by the "dad's" I have known.
Not my birth father, unfortunately. He was for me a good looking no-count womanizer who whined and lied so he wouldn't have to pay a few dollars for my support. That's not much of a man. Still I adored him until I was ten, when I began to see he wasn't going to protect and value me. He's been a good dad to my step-brother's, so I guess he grew up at some point. But for me, he's always been unwilling to step up to the plate. He isn't who I appreciate, on Father's Day.
So not all men, and not all dad's, can give us what we need. If you have a dad like that, let him go-- that's a dry well from which you cannot get any nourishment. Go find other "dad's" who will truly cherish and guard you. If you don't have any in your life right now, start with "dad's" who are pasters or counselors or uncles, authors, teachers, coaches or neighbors. You can find "dad" energy in men of all kinds. Just don't make your lover your "dad." That isn't his job.
I'm filled with appreciation for men and what and who they are, today. Father's Day. Just wanted to share it. Thanks, for being there to listen.