My dad would have loved to have been a cowboy. I know he wanted to join the air force. He was the seventh child and lost his own father at the tender age of two. There is too much to this man to fill this short space. When he was barely eighteen, he drove to Mexico with a friend to find the woman he had met in Paola, Kansas. In one year, he could speak Spanish fluently and they were married. He didn't go to college but worked the ranch in Mexico until the wells ran dry and we moved back to Kansas when I was four. My mom said I changed him when he spanked me once at only one year of age and I held his hand and kissed it while crying. There is a legend that says we all pick our parents before we're born and our greatest lessons will depend on our choice.
I loved him immensly as a child but have recently grown to understand him as well. He is the reason I tell corny jokes and have so many laugh lines on my face. He is genuine with others but has a high regard for the honor system which gives him a little temper at times.
Today, I realized there is another hero to this story, my mother. We've heard the saying, "behind every great man is a great woman." I can't remember a time when she talked bad about him to me or my siblings. I was aware of their arguments, but it was a private matter and we were not treated as confidants. In the wedding tablets of the Baahi faith, it speaks about not taking your marriage to your children which I preached to my newly married daughter.
So many therapists say when mothers tell young children all the faults of their father, it will cause the children much psychological pain by harming their self esteem and causing feelings of doubt and fear. After all, didn't they pick him for a learning experience? I know my kids heard my own ramblings at times but the hurt look on their faces stopped me from going on. I'm talking about healthy situations and not of those where children do have to be removed from their fathers for their safety.
Still, I believe their healing will occur faster if kind and loving words are reflected back to them.
And so it is, happy Father's Day. Watch your words.