They say when you lose a loved one, all the of “firsts” are hard. It’s true. They are. Yesterday was our first Father’s Day without the father.
UGH. I had suggested to the kids that they ignore Facebook or Instagram for the day. Everyone has all their pictures with their dads….or some meme’ about a Dad being in heaven. It’s just not fun to think about right now….those people who still have dads….those people who like my kids, lost theirs.
Several years ago when Kramer and I were getting close to having an empty nest, I started pestering Kramer and asking if we could do foster care. I wasn’t ready to have a house with no kids in it. I love kids and this seemed to be a good idea to me. We talked about it on and off for over a year. I was always gung-ho and he was always dragging his feet.
I finally cornered him on a trip in a car one day. I said, “Everytime I mention doing foster care, you always drag your feet. You never say no but you never say yes.”
Here’s what he told me….
He said he didn’t think he was a good dad. He didn’t make it to all the kids’ ball games. He wasn’t the cuddle on you lap type of dad. He didn’t do a lot of the personal care with the kids. He thought he wasn’t a good enough dad to the kids he already had and he didn’t think he could do better with more kids.
Oh my. That stopped me in my tracks. I immediately thought somewhere down this parenting journey together, I didn’t let him know he was a good dad. I didn’t let him know how much we really appreciated him and the work he did to keep our family together.
I assured him that he was a good dad…a really good dad. I have always considered my own dad a good dad and Kramer was a lot like him. I reminded him that the reason he missed ball games was because he was working and providing for our family. He wasn’t sitting in the bar. I reminded him that if the kids ever needed anything they didn’t go without. I reminded him that he had given the kids lessons in so many things….
-being a good honest hard worker
-being a reliable employee
-being a volunteer
-helping those who need help
-being kind to others
-sense of humor
-doing your best
Sure it’s great for a dad to go to their kids’ ball games….but if they are only going there to put on a show or out of guilt, and not showing their kids these character features that Kramer truly was, what kind of dad are they?
We never did go on to do foster care. But I did work hard to try to remind him regularly that he was a good dad. Sure, he wasn’t outwardly affectionate. He was not as patient as I some…but we all have flaws as parents and human beings….these were trivial.
The good he did for kids…and for me, far outweighed any flaws. I hope he finally figured that out because he really was a good Dad. I have five good kids to prove that.
I sure wish I had known his feelings back when the kids were little and I could have nurtured more positive towards him. If you have sons who are dads (or son-in-laws), or a husband who is a dad, or if you are fortunate to still have your dad, I highly recommend taking the time to remind them of the good they’ve done for the kids in their lives. Do it regularly and just not on Father’s Day. They might be just like Kramer and not realize how good of a Dad they truly are.