A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty. ~Author Unknown
On one of the last visits I had with my Daddy before he passed - maybe even the last one - his face lit up in a smile at the sight of me and he hugged me tighter than I've ever been hugged before or since.
If I close my eyes, I can still see that smile and feel his arms around me, holding on as if he never wanted to let me go. Just another gift from my sweet Daddy to add to my treasured memories. A gift that soothes me on days like today and triggers gratitude from every pore of my body that God blessed me with that man as my father.
He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. ~Clarence Budington Kelland
God also blessed me with an amazing father-in-law. I didn't get to see him as much as my own father, but we were blessed to spend a lot of time with him and Mom, visiting at their home in Maryland and then Florida, traveling with them through Wisconsin, Yellowstone National Park, and Mexico, or having them visit us in Texas.
After raising 9 boys, he loved each one of us daughters as his own, showing a softer side to us than he ever showed to his sons, I'm sure.
A month before his passing, we joined most of Tom's brothers and their families to celebrate Mom and Pop's 60th wedding anniversary. Pop hadn't been feeling well, but I managed to tease a bit of a smile out of him for the photo above. I had no idea it would be the last one I would ever take of him - or that the goodbye hug I received a day or so later would be the last. That smile was a gift from him that I cherish, along with all of the others.
If your father is still around, available to hug or tease or photograph, don't pass up those opportunities. It may not be your last chance, but you'll be grateful for every single one you are able to stash away for later.
Believe me, "later" eventually shows up.
On Father's Day, I also give thanks that God brought Tom into my life to be the father of my children, the three best gifts he's ever given me, even including the drums.
They were all here today to celebrate him, not with store-bought gifts or cards (he thinks they are a waste of money) but with their cooking skills (a bacon and egg breakfast, followed by grilled hamburgers for lunch), their voiced appreciation, and their time, which is about the best gift a child can give their parent... or themselves.
I didn't snap any photos today, but here's a blast from the past...
For more Father's Day reflections, please read, "Dear Daddy" and "What a Father Does..." I hope you enjoy them! Be sure to share a favorite dad memory with me in the comments.
If you are a dad, then I hope you have had a wonderful Father's Day!
Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever. ~Author Unknown