Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

There is one word that comes to mind when I think of my dear dad - Civilized. I have never met anyone who sets people at ease so graciously, whose quirky sense of funny is warm rather than biting, and who rarely loses his temper - and even then there is something so dignified and righteous about his ire that you can't help but know that he's in the right. One of my clearest memories from childhood is an incident where I was in trouble. I had been trying to stall going to bed. "I need a drink of water . . . I need to use the bathroom . . . Did I tell you what happened today?" Mom had had enough and sent me on my way. I can't imagine what possessed me, but as I ascended the stairs I stuck my tongue out at her . . . and got caught. I was told to go to my room and wait. Daddy arrived, very serious. He sat next to me and began to explain why I was in trouble, that what I had done was disrespectful and that I would have to have a spanking. We both cried. Him because he didn't like to spank me, and me because I felt awful for having disappointed him. In retrospect, I have no memory of the spanking. I know I received one, but it wasn't what stuck in my mind. What I remember is his taking the time to explain to a small child what I had done wrong, and telling me how much he didn't like punishing me. It impressed upon me the importance of taking responsibility for your actions, but more importantly he showed me the respect and love that I was to try to model for the rest of my life. As a civilized man, my father is very private and so in a way I feel bad writing this, because I'm invading his privacy by sharing this with you. On the other hand, he's a great man, a noble man, and someone I hold in the highest regard. In any situation I measure my actions against what I think he would do. I think the world needs more men like my dad, and for those men who live their lives in quiet dignity, they should be applauded.

So, here's to my Daddy-O, to whom I owe so much, not the least of which is my warped sense of humor and my appreciation of Civility. I love you, Dad!


Anonymous said...

Let's see, I guess I should call myself Father Fox. I am usually just a reader of blogs, but this one requires a response.
First of all, thank you for the kind words. I'm so proud of your skill and ease with the English language. Those extra bedtime stories must have paid off, or maybe your love of language was the reason for the extra stories. At any rate, you used to bargain for more Dr. Seuss. "I'll go to sleep if you will read just one more story."
Some of that wacky verse is still stuck in my head.
I'm also very proud of the person you've become. I don't feel I can take much credit for that. As a parent, I feel like I have fallen short of the mark on many occasions. One of my goals has always been to give you the confidence to be whomever you wish to be. No "glass ceilings" for my child.
I'm proud of you for many reasons; your kindness, intelligence, wit, your sense of fairness and justice, your ability to organize, persevere. For your aversion to pretentiousness and for your ability to face life head on.
There's a song (probably Country and Western), called "In My Daughter's Eyes". The gist of the lyrics is that I will be a great man if I can live up to my daughter's vision of me.
So, thank you for the generous tribute. I'm proud to be your father. I will love you, always.

the mother of this lot said...

How blessed you both are to have each other!

One word leapt out at me - disappointed. What kept me on the straight and narrow was not fear of my dad. It was fear of disappointing him.

Oh - one more thing. Priests? Homilies? Altars? Mrs. Fox, have you been keeping a secret from me?

Anna Lea said...

Your dad is one of the greatest people I have ever had the luck to meet, and have in my family! He carries himself with such an heir of dignity, but is still probably the most approachable and sweetest person I know. And he most certainly CAN take credit for turning you into one of the coolest people I know. I love you both, and I am lucky to have him and you in my life. Thanks a lot Daddy-o, you did a damn fine job, and I am forever grateful to you for giving me my coolest big sis.

Super Kawaii Mama said...

I almost feel as though I am intruding to comment here, but I just had to say what a wonderful tribute that was. With two small girls of my own, I am yet to master the art of quiet dignity and patience. (I don't yell - I just project!) If only all parents could be such role models.

Feathering My Nest said...

This was a lovely tribute to a worthy father. I love that; "Father Fox."

I don't remember being spanked either, but it certainly did happen by both parents, who didn't like doing it either. I do remember throwing the balloon stick away (on garbage day), which was what my mother used. When she realized what I'd done, I was spanked with an old fishing rod. I assure you it was done in love, because she hated spanking me. She had to use thin pliable sticks because she didn't like using her hand. It hurt her too much. I was always hugged and gently informed of the error of my ways.

Happy Wednesday, Kathi