Friday, June 15, 2012

Dads, fathers, men in general

My dad was a great dad. My dad was imperfect too. He loved my mom and sometimes made embarrassing mistakes trying to let her know that he did. My dad took things apart and put them back together, often without experience or adequate information. Those two incidentals didn't stop him from attempting anything. "If a man could think it, a man could do it." He never said that but he demonstrated that philosophy over and over again. Don't have a tire patch? Cut up a rubber glove and patch the tire with Elmer's glue. House doesn't have a basement? Jack it up with a car jack, put it on bricks and dig the basement with shovels and scoop rigged up to the back axle of an old truck. Yard won't grow grass? Find an empty grassy lot, dig up sod, one trunk full at a time, day after day for an entire summer, and spread it across the yard. (Yeah, it really worked) There were no end to times when we needed money for just about everything so there was no end to the jobs and extra jobs he took on, often working 16 to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. He was on a mission: Take care of his family, the best he could. Even with all that going on, my dad somehow found time to be a great dad and husband. My life probably isn't as complicated as his was and I still find being a good father, husband and now, grandfather no easy task. Being those things as good as my own dad is like trying to fill his shoes. It takes work, sacrifice, dedication, love and a real desire to do the right thing. Being a dad is a full time job. I saw that with my own eyes.

I've heard it said that Mother's day is celebrated because mothers don't get enough credit for all they do. Who can argue with that? But I also heard some of those same people say that Father's Day was not necessary because every day is fathers day due to men not having the responsibilities that moms do. Not everyone says that of course but I still hear it too much for my comfort. Moms and dads shouldn't be in competition for who deserves the most credit. Both should have their own special -place in the child rearing category. When I went to high school I can remember the teacher speaking with disgust about how the governments of Russia and China had child care provided so both fathers and mothers could work all day. "Who raises those kids then?" She asked. I brought that scandalous bit of information back home to my folks. My mother rolled her eyes and asked what this world was coming to and my dad asked if there were any real men in those countries because it was a man's job to provide enough for the mothers to stay home and take care of the kids. They may have had a very narrow knowledge of the world but it was how they believed never the less.

So, whenever Father's Day rolls around I look back at my youth of working alongside my dad. His complete unconditional love and understanding and the role he played in my life. He showed me what he believed rather than spend hours of lip service. He showed me how the family worked together in the way that he and my mother believed it should. In my entire life I do not recall ever being told I was bad. The things I did as a kid sometimes weren't so good but as a person I was good.

Thanks Dad! I saw how hard you worked for us and still kept your sense of humor. You were cool! Not perfect, but very cool! Happy Father's Day!


Realbob said...

Happy fathers day Joe ! Sometimes we are appreciated and sometimes not but it is always great to be a father !!! Bob T

Joe Cramer said...

I agree wholeheartedly Bob, Fatherhood is it's own reward.

Made it to the North side of Grand Haven so far. So far, so good!

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