Dads Are Important Too

December 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm

family Christmas and other dad traditions

family Christmas and other dad traditions

When I think of the holidays, Christmas especially, I think of my dad and my granddad. As I write this post, a myriad of memories crowd into my heart about the men in my family. Today is ‘Dad’s Turn’. My dad would drive our family through different neighborhoods to look at the Christmas decorations. A day or two before Christmas, we would pick out a Christmas tree and decorate it. ..Lots of fun

My dad was usually the parent that my siblings and I could count on to ‘play’ with us and have fun. He would jump out of the closets and scare us, and tell us stories about him and his brothers growing up. He was the male balance of our household – the last word. When he would play with us, we’d forget he wasn’t a kid like us and be disappointed when he became ‘Dad’ again. No fair… We would drive every week to our grandparents to spend Sundays with them and the Ed Sullivan Show. I hated that show, but loved the family time together. I loved watching my dad interact with his dad. They looked just alike, except for the age difference. While Dad was disciplined, Granddad was even more disciplined, yet he let me do things I couldn’t do with my own dad like comb his hair, and push in the buttons on his very cool Dodge dashboard. Granddad also smoked a pipe and had the most delicious smelling tobacco.

As a young girl growing up, Dad was always there. He may have been preoccupied, or asleep on the couch, but I remember the time he spent with us. I knew what he expected of me. I also knew I could trust him. His way was different from Mom’s. They both meant business; however when Mom told us she was going to ‘tell Dad’, we knew it would not be good. As much fun as we had with him, he was a former ‘military’ man and didn’t tolerate nonsense!

Like most families in the sixties, he was a family man. I never understood why he didn’t do housework. Okay yes he cut the grass, painted things when necessary, and barbecued the meat during holidays, but it never made sense that we (the Gist kids) had to wash walls and clean up the kitchen! When I had the nerve to ask why we had to wash walls, he would say “You dirtied them up didn’t you?” Let me just say that after washing the walls, we kept our hands off the walls! While Dad didn’t cook much except BBQ, occasionally he made lunches for us – fried Spam sandwiches and tomato soup. Yummy! He’d cut the sandwiches into shapes and while no one today would dare eat a Spam sandwich, it was another fun time with Dad.

A lot of those traditions changed as our family went through the transition of divorce and separation, I remember the times when I didn’t see my dad much. He would promise to come by for a visit, and never show up. My mom was careful not to talk bad about him to us, so all we had then was disappointment. I didn’t reestablish my relationship with him until the summer before I left for college. I had sassed my mother and wasn’t on speaking terms with her, so I cherished the times I got to spend with dad. We talked about a lot of topics, and I got a chance to know him as a person. I asked him about the times he didn’t show up and how disappointed we were. I remember him saying that he was barely getting by (financially) and didn’t want to show that side of himself (to us).

Perfect, he was not. Necessary to me growing into the woman I am now, very definitely! Today, there are a lot of girls growing into woman without the benefit of their dad. Woman decide what men they will become involved with based on the relationship they have with their father (dad), stepdad, grandpa or other positive male role model. Merry Christmas Dad!

 

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru
Author & Parent Coach
Trying to Stay Sane While Raising Your Teen (St. Paul Press, 2010)
The Pampered Prince: Moms Create a GREAT Relationship with Your Son (St. Paul Press, 2012)
Raising Your Daughter Through the Joys, Tears & HORMONES! (220 Communications, 2013)

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Entry filed under: caring, Dad, daughter, divorce, family, fathers, Parenting, raising daughters, relationships, young girls. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

I Accept You Just As You Are Eating Through the Holidays…


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