While attending university in Montreal, I had a chance to visit Louise (Jefferies). She gave me pictures her mother, Annie had kept of us when we were young.
One photo, of my father and I, spoke to me. I am about three years old and my father is holding my hand as we stand side by side posing for the camera.
Our family grew in size and too soon I was sent away to school. A separation that would never satisfy my childhood again. My father wrote long letters giving me a taste of home that I yearned for. I would count the days when he would come to visit and mourn the day he left. I tried to squeeze in all my accomplishments and failures….talking non-stop for a long period of time, all that I stored longingly to say and share with him before he left to go home again.
He listened, guided and encouraged my ambitions, always telling me I could become anything I wanted if I really wanted to. But I would need to work hard to get there. My father said it and I believed it.
I remember times when my father was busy buying goods for the store, pricing items into the late night and making entries into his ledgers. We understood that he had to work to put food on the table. But the times I loved best is when he sat at the kitchen table and I could slip into the seat beside him.
“Daddy.” He gave me his undivided attention, listening to my dreams and he made me feel like a princess. I looked to him for his approval because I loved him so much.
My grandfather was in “running” distance of our home. A place I ran to when I was in trouble with my mother. It was my grandmother I wanted to complain to and her sympathy I needed but my grandfather was the first one I bumped into. He had a way of bringing my complaints to a halt by saying, “It is not important. It is nothing. Don’t dwell on it. Go listen to what you are told.”
Yet, I came to him with my hurts and he had a unique way of making them better. I burnt my finger tempting a lit candle by passing it across the flame. I caught the wax of the candle and it stung. He blew on my finger then made out to spit on it, saying, “There, it will be better now…”
In my married life, we would visit my in-laws annually. My husband spent most of the time puttering around the yard, in the garage and going places with his father. My father-in-law was someone I admired and felt close to. I didn’t want to learn how to drive but he would tell me how important it was.
Around the time when he needed to pass his driver’s yearly he would make sure I went with him to renew my learners. He was there when we were thinking of going into business with friends. He made us look at what we were giving up – security and a good pension from my husband’s job at that time of 15 years.
Raising three boys was challenge that my husband was able to meet more than I. His method of discipline was stable and solid. Our boys grew up in a routine that allowed them to enjoy outside activities after homework was complete. He had a good sense of judgment when they became involved in mischievous play with others and they were the only ones who paid the price.
His explanation that they were his children and he was responsible for them did not seem fair at the time. Lessons came from his father and he, in hope, would pass them unto his sons. How fortunate they are to have such a father.
On Sunday, June 18, we honour all fathers for their care, guidance, support and love. A very happy father’s day to you all. You are loved and honoured this day.