-Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu
Our two daughters and two sons call him Dad. Our five grandsons call him Pawpaw. I call him Dan, the love of my life. We met after Sunday night service when I was 15 and he was 17. Love at first sight? I would say certainly. We dated for 5 years and will be married 42 years this July. There have been ups and downs, ins and outs, but his unwavering love and patience have fueled this family for all these years.
Dan taught middle school history for 38 years with the same patience and understanding that he used to raise his family. He left the house most days without any money in his wallet, driving an old car that I wouldn't have left the driveway in. His faith and hope got him 15 miles there and 15 miles back every day. There were a few road dilemmas through the years and the students all made fun of his ride. Did it bother him? Not one whit.
As for his own children, he welcomed each one with tears in his eyes and love in his unwavering heart. His sacrifice was total, his support and encouragement beyond measure. He taught by example, sharing all that he had without question. There were bike rides and trips to the ice cream stand. We had some crazy vacations. He sat through every performance and ball game with nothing but pride in his loving father's eyes. He built sets for plays and umpired ball games when needed. He did laundry, washed dishes, gave baths and put them to bed because I worked too and couldn't do it all. Who could ask for more? He gave up his own wants for us all.
When there were hurts and broken hearts, he supported and sustained. When there was sickness, he worried and walked the floor with them. When there were questions, he tried to answer. When one daughter and one son wanted to leave New York after 9/11, he rented a van on two different occasions and drove up the first time on Thanksgiving weekend, helped load the van and drove back. Then, he made the trip again Superbowl Weekend, driving straight through, loaded the van and headed home. Then, we helped move them to Nashville. If they need anything, he is there - no questions asked.
I owned my own costume business for many years. When our oldest daughter had her second son, he went to New York and helped with her first son while she was in the hospital because I was in Halloween season and could not leave. I vowed that situation would never happen again, but his big daddy's heart took time off from school and made the trip to help his daughter.
His lifetime love of music spilled over to our children. They all have beautiful voices and the two boys play guitar like their dad. Because we always lived on a pretty tight budget, weekend entertainment was oftentimes family singing jams while dad played his guitar. Our youngest son and his dad have been working on recording some of their music and it makes him so happy to get to have this experience. (It sounds really, really good!) Maybe you will hear some of it on the radio one of these days. We all still love to get together and sing any time we can.
Our children are all creative and Dad has encouraged each of them to follow their dreams whatever they may be. When most parents were having a heart attack about their children wanting to be performers, actors or artists, this dad always said go for it. What lucky children.
As for the five grandsons, Pawpaw is always there. We have made many trips to New York, Dallas, Nashville and Chicago to spend time with these precious little boys. There is no one more proud than Pawpaw. He plays, teases, sings, and teaches - again by example. These boys are the jewels in his crown and he would do anything for each and every one of them. His favorite time of the day? Sharing ice cream or a root beer float with them. Nothing could be better as far as he is concerned.
Life has not always been easy, but he has supported me in all that I have done. He has always done the same for his children. He lives an example of love, patience, understanding, gratitude, sharing and wisdom - always. Dan posses a profound and secret virtue. He has never tried to master or posses and he truly has given his children wings to soar.
Happy Father's Day. We love you.
Things to Remember: