I have been without my father for twenty years now, but fathers have a way of finding a place in your heart and staying there forever. This is the week that I would be looking for a special gift to show my love for my father on Father’s Day. Instead, I’ll go to the cemetery and put some roses in the green cone at the side of his grave and weed the urn where I planted a geranium and marigolds Memorial Day weekend. Every time I go, I talk to him, not out loud if I am with my mom, but silently, a conversation between my father and me. I thought this week about lessons I learned from my father. I didn’t learn these things all at once or only when I was young, and some of these lessons are hard to put into practice. Still, these were my father’s beliefs, and my father was loving, totally selfless, with a great sense of humor and a love for my mother truly inspirational. It would not be such a bad thing if I could be only a little bit like him. Here is what he taught me:
1. Give to others before yourself.
2. Eat anything someone has cooked for you, even if just a bite.
3. Cape Cod is a magical place for a yearly summer vacation.
4. Nature’s beauty soothes the soul.
5. Love lighthouses and covered bridges.
6. Teach yourself something new if you can’t afford lessons from someone else.
7. You can make anything out of wood.
8. If you make a mistake when you build something, pretend you intended it to look like that.
9. Discipline firmly, love softly.
10. Love doesn’t always show itself in hugs and kisses.
11. Love your spouse, your children, and your grandchildren above all else.
12. Work hard.
13. Love animals.
14. Grow flowers and tend to them carefully.
15. Learn to grow your own vegetables and give some away.
16. Forgive others.
I miss my father every day of the year, not just on Father’s Day. If I could give my father a gift on this Father’s Day, I would worry less about the gift I give him and focus more on telling him about the gifts he has given to me. I would focus on telling him how much I love him, now and forever.