Father's day reflections


I miss my dad. So do my two grown daughters and my 8 siblings. And I’m really sad he didn’t get to meet my little granddaughter. Dad retired to a little farm in Indiana after 38 years as a milk route salesman (he sold to small stores rather than individual homes). It was a job that provided fairly well for our big Catholic-birth-control-size family.

We never knew our dad while we grew up. He and my mom were a closed circuit pair. She spoke for him; he let her handle discipline and most everything else. He’d step in when she asked him to–to scare us or spank us or whatever.

But how we loved going to visit them on the farm. For twenty years, it was my family’s only vacation spot. As a single mom, I loved it as a haven of comfort. I’d arrive, have a drink with them, pat my kids on the head and sleep. Pretty much all weekend I’d sleep. I knew the kids were safe and had interesting things to do out in nature. No chores. No errands. No work. No phone calls. God, it was like heaven.

Then after my mom died, my dad found it hard at first to negotiate the world on his own. But he put his mind to it. And we all watched him teach himself how to listen more and how to communicate more effectively with us. We got to know him in a way we never could when both parents were a unit. It was a precious gift, and I am profoundly grateful to have had those years with him.

There is nothing in the world like having a good relationship with your dad. Hope yours with your dad brings you much joy. And if it doesn’t, I hope you’ve found peace with that.

How's your relationship with your dad?


Today’s father’s day. Good holiday. I loved my dad so much. Trouble was, we only got to know each other after my mom died–and he was already 72 and it was a hard process. Don’t know if other people in my age group noticed the same thing. Seems like when people got married back in the Depression era, many of them became very close. Like a closed society–just the two of them against the world.

That’s how it was with my parents–safe in a closed society of their own. They were inseparable in a world of their own; we kids were outsiders they felt an obligation to take care of. And they did a wonderful job. But emotional closeness was a foreign idea to them. Their own upbringing was totally devoid of it, so clearly it wasn’t something they knew much about or had any experience with.

Anyway, I don’t know if any other single women out there had troubled relationships with their dads, but today seems like a good day to ask the question. Did you? Was your relationship with your dad a real high point of your childhood, or did it leave a lot to be desired? Seems like a question worth asking–and I bet any number of enlightened researchers who care about these things have asked it. Maybe we can find some information about it.

But meanwhile, God bless all fathers. Whatever skills they had, at least we are here because of them. Happy father’s day, dads.