What does it mean to be a good father? As father’s day approaches and as I talk to my friends who are new mothers I start to think of this topic that has never really crossed my mind before. I am one of the lucky ones, I’ve never had to question if my father loved me or if he would be around. I also had my uncle who was a father figure to me when I was growing up, I actually have and had three amazing parents (dad, mom and uncle), people who I could count on to listen to my stories with great enthusiasm like I was the most special person in the world and because of their love I thought I was and still do. My dad and uncle were completely different people and yet both inspired me on my journey and to my life mission which is my constant passion and the reason why I am writing this.
Radiating love is a perfect description of what my uncle did. I am sitting here at my desk writing this with a picture of my uncle in front of me and his smile is radiating at me and in me always. It is the greatest gift I can imagine. He loved to tell stories, his memory was immaculate he could tell you the exact time to the minute that he caught a bus to the grocery store. The details he could recall were awe inspiring, I remember listening to his stories and thinking how incredible his brain was. My uncle made everyone light up with just his presence and he gave the best hugs, you know the ones when you just feel the love pouring out into you. All he wanted to do was help people and he had nothing, no money, he lived in a one room apartment and wore the same clothes every day and yet he would lend what little money he did have to his friends. He was always sick, from my earliest memory he was in and out of the hospital with asthma attacks and then as he got older his heart started to have trouble and the diagnoses and medications just kept piling up, but his smile never faded. His love and compassion is forever within me and I am so grateful that he showed me the way.
My dad worked a 9-5 job and my earliest remembrance of the spark starting in me on my yoga path was at home impatiently waiting for his arrival. I would be home for what felt like all day with my mom who is another amazing human but this is a father’s day writing so I shall stay on track and leave her story for another time. “Mom what time will dad be here?” I would yell from my bedroom starting to feel the boredom of having no obligations all day. “He should be home from work about 5:30pm Dolly, but don’t bother him right when he walks in the door he has had a long day and might need to study tonight”. What does she mean by bother him I’m not a bother he loves me and my company he will be just as happy to see me as I will be to see him I’m sure, well I’m not sure I said all of this exactly to myself just like that when I was 5 years old but that is definitely how I felt. I was learning how to use that big round thing in the living room with all the numbers and the confusing hands ticking by to know when people I wanted to see would arrive or when something would happen at home or when I got to go to swimming lessons, now that I knew what time dad was supposed to walk in the door I was checking that thing constantly I would go to my room check on my books or My Little Ponies and then walk back into the living room to check the time. Once the time got close to 5:30pm I would stay in the living room and watch out the window for dad to come walking up our steps, I would watch and watch and watch and wait and wait and wait.
Dad would walk in the door 5:30pm on the dot and if I couldn’t contain myself I might go running out into our walk way to great him or just jump him as he walked in the door. This couldn’t be what mom meant by bother right? Dad would be happy to see me just as I was. “Hey kid how was your day?” Slightly less excited than me dad would ask. “Yeah I want to play too but I just need a little time in my room alone ok? I’ll be right out.” Dad would beg. “What do you mean dad? I’ve been waiting all day can’t we play outside or something?” I would whine. “I just need a little alone time is that ok Yvonne?” Dad would say with a little authority. “Oh well I guess dad, but I don’t understand I’ve been waiting all day” I would mumble sadly under my breath. “Well, I’m just going to do a little yoga I guess you can hang out with me while I practice just don’t talk ok?” “ Ok great dad I love that idea I promise I won’t disturb you I’ll just join in and it will be like I’m not even there! Yay!” Thanks dad.
Dad could never tell me what to do but I sure copied everything he did, he likes to read, write and go for walks, guess what my favorite hobbies are? My uncle radiated love and this is my mission, to be at ease and open even when things are not going as planned, to be in touch with that inner resource that says hey things are cool just the way they are and what a blessing it is that we are all in this together.
With gratitude everyday, thank-you to all the dads out there leading by example the best way they know how.