Papa has got to be on at least the Top 10 World’s Greatest Dads list. I think he deserves to be on the Top 1 list, but then I’m a bit biased. How can I not be?
We Monkee-walked through the grocery store regardless of my mother’s threats to send us all to the car, including Papa. We learned how to lie in a square on the floor resting our heads on each other’s bellies. We explored tidal pools on the beach. We chopped a trail through the blackberry bushes behind the house to make a shortcut to the hill behind us. We once lifted the back end of my mother’s car and shifted it just enough to be noticeable. We also learned the least dangerous way to explode an aerosol can in a camp fire.
My dad taught me the value of sarcasm and stupid answers to stupid questions. One of my favorite examples of said values is the day Papa came into the house carrying a long, low shelf he’d painted yellow for my mother. My sister and I looked up from our cartoons and she asked, “What is that?”
“It’s a giraffe,” he replied.
From that day forward that shelf was known as “The Giraffe”.
While the silliness ran rampant through my childhood, so did a deep sense of order and discipline. We did not fear Papa; we respected him deeply. He always spoke plainly to us and expected us to speak so to him. Conversations ran the gamut of utterly ridiculous to deep and thought-provoking. We learned at a young age that our father is a very wise man. I suppose that, in a sense, did create a type of fear of our father: We didn’t want to disappoint him.
Sometimes I did, anyway. I’ve done things that made him cry. The guilt of causing this gentle, stoic man to shed tears lived with me for a very long time and colored almost everything I did. I wanted him to approve of me again, but my guilt wouldn’t let me see that even through his disappointment in my actions, the approval never went away.
How did he do that? How did approve of me and not my actions? Yet I’ve done the same with my own children. I cannot tolerate some of the decisions they make even while I love them to the end of time. But that’s different—they aren’t me. In my own mind, my transgressions were deeper, more unforgivable.
Somewhere along the way I learned to embrace the forgiveness and the love of a father for his daughter. I’m not sure what triggered the change from guilt to gratitude to acceptance, but I’m glad it did. Looking back, I can see that all along Papa was simply modeling for me what my Father looks like.
P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts; be sure to share in the comments section below. This month we will draw TEN winners from our commenters and the winners will receive one of these two books, Hope for a Hurting Heart or To Let You Know I Care by our featured author this month, Cheryl Karpen.
Kelly Heuer resides in Idaho and asserts that she is foremost a wife to her best friend and hero. Five children (plus a few extras) call her Mami, and she considers being a wife and mother to be her most important job and ministry. She is her church’s Music/AV Coordinator and serves as a song leader among other roles as needed. A missionary kid, Kelly lived in the Dominican Republic for 14 years learning to read and translate legal documents in both Spanish and English. She says one of the most important revelations of her time there was learning the value of writing in alleviating the pain of both internal and external struggles. She says while others might describe her as a survivor, she calls herself a fighter, a thriver, a winner. Kelly’s heart is to help women worldwide to go beyond survival and be freed to never again fear enslavement.
Read more encouraging stories from brave-hearted women here. Be sure to grab your free copy of inspirational quotes and writing prompts while you’re there. (Look over on the right hand side!)