Happy Father’s Day to everyone who has ever played the role of “dad.” Whether that be a brother, an uncle, grandpa, great-grandpa, cousin, friend, or in some cases (I have a couple of friends with this title) the mom who played the role of dad when he was absent—this weekend is all about you!
Heather, Jen, and I have different versions of dad. We would love for you to share your memories, too. Be sure to comment on the post for an extra chance to win our father’s day giveaway this week as well! Look for those details at the end of this piece.
**Leslie’s View of Her Dad**
I’m lucky. I didn’t realize JUST how lucky I am until I became an adult. Growing up in a small town I honestly didn’t know very many people without two parents.
In college, it hit me—life isn’t like this for everyone.
Many of my friends’ parents were divorced, some never really had anyone to call “dad.” Most all found a father figure in their lives or had at least one incredibly loving parent to guide them through life, but dad was gone.
I don’t know why I was blessed with an incredible father and dear friends of mine grew up without. But one thing I DO know is that I will NEVER take that for granted. And with that, I will leave you with 10 of my favorite memories from my dad. If you’d like to read my column from this week (which is a tribute to my two favorite dads), click here!
10. Coke, Crackers, Popcorn, Shrimp, Donuts at the Webster County Fair, and Chicken Nuggets with Honey.
9. “schlaf gut” meaning goodnight in German. Dad always said this to me, and now I utter the same words to my girls each night.
8. The smell of Marlboro’s and grease. Dad has since STOPPED smoking. 😉
7. Nintendo ( I think he played more than we did!)
6. Searching through his jars and jars of change!
5. Watching him play poker with “his guys.”
4. His attempt to teach me how to drive! (I’m still not very good!)
3. Red combines, wheat fields, corn fields and laying pipe.
2. My wedding day when he gave me away and teared up during his speech.
1. Story time. Every night. Without fail. It’s why I KNOW I love to read, write, tell stories and simply talk to you all.
To my dad, I say thank you. I love you very, very much.
**Jen’s View of Her Papa**
That’s right. I have a Papa and a Mama. It isn’t something EVERYONE knows (until now). But that’s what we call them. I am also lucky. My parents have trudged through some very hard times together. No matter what life threw at them, they’ve made it together. They have proven that a marriage is not an easy road. It is work. But it is worth it.
I have learned a lot from my parents, but today I’m focusing on my Papa.
Five things my Pa taught me.
1. Always do what’s best for your family first.
My dad is the oldest of 6 kids. He has ALWAYS put his family’s needs first. I have seen him give up things he would like to do just to make sure that his family is taken care of. As a result, I would drop almost anything if my brother or sister or husband or kids or parents really needed me. Family is forever.
2. Life is a game. You learn the rules. And note: there are rules written between the lines.
No matter where you are, there are rules. They may be written, they may not be written, but there are rules. I’m not only talking about the speed limits and ‘quiet’ sign in the library. I’m talking about who you need to talk to at work to actually get a project done. I’m also talking about how you talk and what you say. There are differences in the rules when you get a new boss and when you get a new co-worker. My Pa and I had a talk when I was a teenager. He taught me that if you learn ‘the rules’ you can accomplish more than you thought.
This one is kind of a joke in my family, but I think there’s some real truth behind it. Our family’s ‘outlaws’ (aka not the bloods) often joke that my dad’s brothers and sisters speak a different language called “Jelkin-ese.” They speak without nouns and sometimes without verbs. Its almost as if they’re reading each others’ minds. Plus, they come seemingly out of nowhere with it. My sister, brother and I can all ‘speak’ it, too.
When I used to be a manager at a TV station, people would ask if I was a mind reader. I am not — of course. I just pay very close attention to the details. Non-verbals, changes in behavior, people’s past and goals, they all make up what they’re doing today. And knowing those things can really explain why they’re acting they way they are acting. It is all part of “Jelkin-ese”
4. Think outside of the Box
My dad is the most creative person I know. Whenever I am planning to participate in a parade or write a proposal, I call him and ask his opinion. He always comes up with the best ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas. His ideas have started me on the path to many purple ribbons at the fair and several trophies in school.
5. A “sick day” is for when you are sick.
This one is pretty straight-forward. My dad is a hard worker. He is salt-of-the-Earth. Skipping school was never a thought for me growing up. Skipping work wasn’t either. I started in TV when I was 18. One time my doctor told me she was going to put me in the hospital if I didn’t promise NOT to go to work. She called my mom and made her take me home for a week. I had Mono. I had been going to work before being diagnosed. When I moved to Florida, I realized this wasn’t the way everyone thought. People introduced me to ‘Sanity Days.’ It’s one reason I wanted to raise my own kids back in the Midwest. I can’t say I’ve never skipped a class. I may have even called in sick to try out a sanity day once. But every time I did, I saw my dad shaking his head at me.
So, I am who I am because of my dad. I have the success I have had in my life because of my dad. I LOVE you Papa!!
**Heather’s view of Her Dad**
My parents divorced when I was 12. In the stillness of the night, my mom packed up her six kids, our clothes and moved us from Sahuarita, Arizona to Newcastle, Wyoming. It was a culture shock (think city girl meets snobby rancher girls, not so pretty!). Not only were we the poster family for welfare, we were nobodies and we were fatherless.
It wasn’t until college that I was able to get over my Daddy Issues. I had always wanted to be a Daddy’s Girl, to have him wrapped around my finger, teach me how to drive, and what boys to stay away from. I wanted him to be the man that helped me realize my dreams before I did. I wanted him there to walk me down the aisle. I dreamed of him spoiling his grandchildren. But that hasn’t been the case until recently!
Thankfully this Father’s Day is special and has meaning. 19 years later, I get to be a Daddy’s girl. He made some very poor choices and lost out on most of my childhood. So when he contacted me to tell me he was clean and sober; I was stunned. I could have gone two different directions.
- Ignore him. He chose to not be a part of my life, so why start now?
- Forgive and accept him. What’s the point in holding onto anger, hurt and grudges when there is so much life to be experienced together?
My Dad regrets deeply his choices and feels the pressure to make up for lost time. He cried when he learned that I was married. He was saddened and excited to know that he had 3 grandchildren. Last week he flew in from Tucson and spent the week spoiling his grandbabies and doting on his “little girl.”
It was a neat picture to see all of my siblings, including myself, hanging out with our dad. The differences in personalities and lifestyles made for fun conversations, but in each face, I saw a reflection of my dad. I loved every moment and am so thankful that my heart was open to another chance.
In this aspect, I am SO grateful and wild about my husband. He is the daddy I had always dreamed of for my kids. How did they get to be so lucky, I don’t know. I’m truly blessed to have a husband who takes what it means to be a father seriously.
So here’s to my dad, David and my husband Chris, thank you for being father’s.
I wanted to share a photo of my dad. This one is an oldie but good! We spent the day at an air show in Arizona. This photo was taken before my last two siblings were even a thought in my dad’s mind.
How about you? We want to hear your stories. Share them with us, will you?! Each comment gets a DOUBLE entry into our father’s day giveaway for this week! You can win:
1. 3-day Nebraska fishing liscense
2. A Free pass to ANY Nebraska State Park for one day
3. A one-year subscription to NEBRASKAland Magazine ($18) value. (Courtesy: Nebraska Game and Parks)
Just leave a comment on this post about your memories with your father. We’ll announce the winner at 5pm on Friday.