So today is Father’s Day!
Normally, one would take this time to let their father know how much he means to them. After all, isn’t that what this day is all about? But I figured I’d be a little different and talk a little about my daughter, Jackie. After all, she’s the one who, for me, has made fatherhood worthwhile.
In trying to be a good father, I can’t truthfully say I did everything right. In fact, I’m sure there was a lot that I did wrong. But, in the end, that really isn’t that important. The things that I remember most are the good times we had and the fun things we did.
One thing I’ve noticed fathers doing with their children is throwing them in the air and catching them. It seems like a lot of fun and I’m sure the children love it when Dad plays that way. They seem to feel like they are being thrown six feet into the air, when the reality is that they barely leave their father’s hands. (By the way… Don’t ask mothers about this. Most of them are sure that if it wasn’t for the ceiling, the child would fly thirty feet in the air… but more about that later.)
I wasn’t one to do that. Perhaps I was following my own father’s lead… or perhaps I was afraid of having some kind of ADHD moment and getting distracted while Jackie was inches away from the ceiling. Instead, I preferred to hold Jackie’s hands and swing her around in circles. It was really quite fun. I’d hold her hands and swing her around for a couple minutes, then I’d set her down and watch as she tried to regain her balance… staggering around, tripping over the furniture and walking into walls.
So there was this one day, when Jackie was about a year old, when we were playing this same game that I had a great idea. A new variation of the same game. So I took her by the left hand and the left foot, and then slowly started to turn around in circles. As I started to move a little faster, Jackie’s reaction became a little more vocal… and progressively louder.
Before long, we were moving fast enough that we were able to gain a little height, so now Jackie was flying in circles Superman style… and Jackie started crying out like, “Ahh ahhh ahhh ahh ahhh”.
I move a little faster and we gained a little more height, and Jackie sounded more like, “Aaaahhhh aaaahhhh aaaahhhh aaaaahhhh”.
By now we’re going really fast and Jackie is almost reaching as high as my shoulder, so I started to lower and raise my arms so she was moving up and down as if she was on one of those amusement park rides she was still too young to ride. By now, Jackie’s face was turning about six shades of red and her cries were getting louder like, “Whaaaahhhhh whaaaaahhhh whaaaaaahhhhhh”.
At about this time, her mother was starting to take notice, so she joined in… “Bob! What do you think you’re doing? You’re scaring her…. Stop it!”
So I slowed down and let her land gently on the floor. She got up, tears pouring down her face, and her cries were now more like, “Whaaa whaa aaahhh ahhh ahhh… Do that again, Daddy!”
Yes, we had good times back then. I always thought it would be great to have a big family… at least a couple more children… Taking turns spinning around… tripping over furniture… walking into walls… bumping into each other. But that was never going to happen. You see, I wanted more children, but my wife wanted a divorce… and in the end, she got what she wanted.
Being a part time, single father was not what I had originally planned. I didn’t get to be there for every step of her growing up, but we did have some pretty good weekends.
Later on, my father went into the hospital and I moved up north to be with my mother and help out until he was back on his feet. At about the same time, Jackie’s mother remarried and moved out west, leaving her to live with me and my parents. At this time I learned a few things I never before saw in my father… and Jackie grew closer to him as well.
Dad is gone now… I have remarried… and Jackie is raising a family of her own. My chances of having any more children of my own have long passed, but perhaps I can put into practice, with Jackie’s two boys, some of what I observed of my father being a grandfather.