Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day

I did not meet my dad until I was about 3 months old.  He was a Naval Officer stationed on board a ship during the Korean War, so my mom went home to Northern New Jersey to live with her parents and await my birth.  Yes, I AM a Jersey girl!  When Dad came home we moved to Hunter's Point, in the Southern San Francisco area to a Quonset hut.  If you don't know what these are, they are grey corrugated metal buildings in the shape of a 1/2 moon. (that's my dad and I in front of ours)  They were divided up to house 3 to 4 families.  Yes, even then the military housed us in substandard housing and called it "free".
My dad's career had us moving every 2 to 3 years, from the East Coast to the West and back again.  He was gone a good part of the time, so there really was no male presence in our lives, save for my grandfather and uncles, who were usually on the opposite coast.  When my dad would come home, none of us knew what to do with him, and frankly I'm not sure he knew what to do with us, but he did his best, providing for us, giving us a love of history, reading and writing notes.  I still have many of the notes he wrote to me, some of them still scorch the page. 

My dad (left) relieved of command, USS Preble, in Okinawa, Japan 1961
  This brings me to fathers in general....although many are not biological fathers, they stand in when the child needs them, and they take over if necessary.  I'm convinced that no one is born with the instinctive nature to be a father, we learn parenting on the job, and sometimes it is not a job well learned.  Today could be a sad and painful day for many, with the loss of a dad, or a dad whose presence causes old and ugly memories to surface, or it could be a joyful day, celebrating those who contributed to our formation and loved us through the difficult moments of life. 
1981, many hair colors ago!
Today I celebrate my husband, who has been an amazing role model for our children, teaching them values, along with modeling hard work, integrity and love.  And to all those who have stood in for him, when he wasn't able to be with us, thank you for being there for my children, you are the extended family who have cared for and nurtured them when they needed it most.  I'm grateful for all the dads today, for their love and caring for children, no matter what age. 

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