Over the past few days (and couple of weeks) my dad has given me quite the unexpected Father’s Day gift. As I’ve rekindled many relationships and built others there’s been an ongoing theme… Many stories about Dad and the impact that he’s had on so many people.
When we talked and got together we were always talking, sharing stories and updates of what we were up to. Somehow in my brain I was kind of focused on the dad that I knew and assumed that was all there was to know about him. Seriously, I’ve known the guy for 40 years, how could there be any surprises, right? Over the past couple of weeks I’ve learned just how naive a thought that was.
Between time in the hospital, messages on Facebook, conversations at the funeral, in cards, and everywhere in between I’ve heard more stories about my dad than ever. Dad was a very proud man and liked to keep somethings private, I will respect that by speaking in generalities. Also know that as I share, there are so many more stories that I would love to share, but I can’t find a way to do it without sharing more than he would like. Here’s a short list of some of the things I’ve learned about my dad or seen much more clearly from these stories:
- His inventing skills were top notch! One of his most recent creations still has me smiling from ear to ear. It was an incredible example of Dad’s ingenuity, attention to detail, and focus on quality execution.
- In an incredibly heartwarming letter I learned about ways my dad had been known to go out of his way to cheer up a friend. It was something that was way out of his comfort zone, but that didn’t stop him from doing it. I teared up while reading it and was so proud of Dad for doing it.
- The number of lives he brightened still blows my mind. In one example that particularly touched me Dad went out of his way to have a conversation with someone who was in a really tough spot, brought happiness to them, and moved them to happy tears. I heard this story right before the funeral and knew that if I was going to break down emotionally during his eulogy it was going to be due to this story being that fresh in my mind.
- Hearing stories of ways Dad has given of himself have been coming non-stop. From financial, time, skills, emotions, and smiles there’ve been many examples of how he’s helped other. He’d shared a few of these with me as they happened, but I had no idea the extreme depth of his generosity.
Over the years I’ve shared my passion of the analogy of a shoebox diorama (Day 332 of last year). When making them as a kid I’d make a scene in the box close it up, and then look in through an eyehole. If I cut a new hole in the box I’d see the same thing, but from a different direction. The same details, but with a different meaning due to the change in perspective. The more holes I looked through the better the understanding one would get. This Father’s Day my dad gave me the gift of several new vantages to see his life from. He punched new holes in the shoebox diorama that was his life and opened it up to view him differently, to get a more complete picture of who he really was in total, not just “the dad” role that I saw him from.
I’d give most anything to have him back with me, to be able to hop on the phone and wish him a happy Father’s Day, to have some fun texts between the two of us and my brother, and have life go back to normal. All that being said, I can’t imagine going back to not seeing all of these great things about him. As big of a hero as he already was for me, his legacy continues to grow, my respect for him increases, and I’m even more proud of him. Each story reminds me of ways that I need to be better in order to follow in his footsteps, and help raise my boys to do the same.
Dad, thank you for this awesome Father’s Day gift, the ability to see your life from new perspectives and angles. I’m more proud of you than I’ve ever been. Happy Father’s Day Dad – Love you!