Friday, October 16, 2009

You Never Stop Being A Father

or being a mother, for that matter.

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I never knew my paternal Grandfather, for he passed away before I was ever born. I heard my father tell enough stories of him, that I knew I had missed out on something good. A carpenter, husband and father of 8, he was not part of the diaper changing revolution. After all, in his generation, no men changed diapers - that waswomen's work. What he did do, was set an example of hard work and responsibility. He would not be caught dead 'babysitting', but he always provided for his family and treated his wife and children well. He set an example for his sons of what it meant to be a man.

When I was young, early grade school, my father worked shift work from 3pm-11pm at a meat packing plant. That shift was mostly a skeleton crew of machine maintenance after the day shift had gone home. He could go about his work mostly in solitude, without anyone looking over his shoulder constantly, that he knew of anyway.

When I was a young adult, my father shared with me a special memory he had of those days.

One night, during an especially stressed filled time in his life, while working alone in the packing plant, he was having a particularly hard time with a piece of machinery. Two interlocking pieces simply would not lock back together. He knew that they had to be just right in order to fit and the harder he tried, the more frustrated he grew. He could feel his blood pressure rising as he grew angrier that even such a simple task wouldn't go his way. Sitting alone and swearing to himself, equally frustrated about his life's current woes and the machine parts that refused to cooperate.

Suddenly and calmly he felt a firm and supporting hand on his shoulder and his father's voice, "Relax Jim. Be patient and relax and it will all be okay". Dad said that this soothed him enough to take a deep breath and continue working, now in a peaceful manner. Within a minute or so the pieces slipped together and locked with ease. He went about the rest of his shift with new found calmness as all of his frustration left him.

I'm not sure why Dad had shared this story with me, for he had never told this to anyone else, including my mother, a fact that I did not know until well after his own passing 11 years ago. This story had always stuck with me and for me has gained me the knowledge that fatherhood is a job that never ends.

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Otter Thomas said...

Another great story. There is certainly a lot of spirituality in your family.

CK Lunchbox said...

That's a wonderful story. It seems like Fatherhood (and Motherhood too) is like a chain, each link being a generation in a family. Moments like this keep the links in tact.

whatnowdad said...

I couldn't put into words how my own dad has helped me be a better father. Good chains are hard to break!

Michelle said...

You're right that it never ends... although what's with your family and all the otherworldly interactions? You've definitely had your share!

terri said...

Your dad must have trusted you to understand and believe enough to share that story with you. What an amazing event that must have been for him.

Melisa with one S said...

What a great story. It's lovely that your Dad shared that with only you. :)

Teacher Tom said...

"Relax and be patient . . ." What timeless advice.

surprised mom said...

What a great daughter you were/are. Your dad trusted you to understand his story and I believe you did. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

When I became a mom, I felt bonded to all the women in my family who "mothered" me. I felt like I was the next link in the chain that included my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, etc. I felt connected in a way I never did. I hope the chain continues with my daughters. It's a wonderful feeling.

texasholly said...

What a sweet story! It is like he was well versed in yoga - although I am a bit suspicious that yoga wasn't his style.

The Devoted Dad said...

I hope that I can teach such great principles to my own children that are lasting reminders that I am always present no matter what. - Jason

Heather said...

that is an awesome story, and one that i'm sure you've connected with through the years.

it was WONDERFUL seeing you today.

de-I said...

Hmmmmm - you certainly seem to operate on a lot of different levels grasshopper.

WeaselMomma said...

@ Otter ~ Thanks. I never really thought of us as spiritual, in that sense, but we do have a handful of simple stories.

@ CK ~ I like that analogy.

@ Whatnow ~ Just make sure not to be the weakest link.

@ Michelle ~ These are all so infrequent that I never really thought about them as 'a lot'. I guess this is more than average.

@ Terri ~ I know that it was an event that stayed with him and had a positive effect.

@ Melisa ~ Thanks.

@ Teacher Tom ~ Definite advice to keep in the forefront of our minds.

@ Surprised ~ There's no doubt that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.

@ TX Holly ~ Yeah, I doubt that he ever studied yoga or any other 'Hocus Pocus', as he may have called it.

@ Devoted ~ My guess is that you are doing a great job at it.

@ Heather ~ Thanks. Lunch was great.

@ de-I ~ I just like to keep you on your toes and guessing

seashore subjects said...

How wonderful that your dad shard this story with you!

PJ Mullen said...

That is a great story. I was fortunate to live with my paternal grandfather my first two years of college in an effort to keep the cost of my schooling down. We had always been close, but I learned a lot more about him during that time. He passed a little over 5 years ago, but I can still hear him to this day. I'm not terribly close to my father, that is a whole hill of beans, so it is reassuring to me knowing that he is there.

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