Tag Archives: Father’s Day

Ten Ways to Say “Thank you, Dad”

www.melindawentzel.comFathers come in all shapes and sizes, temperaments and talents. On the whole, I’d daresay they are a thankless lot—often underappreciated, largely misunderstood—an entire populace of men rarely acknowledged for the many and varied ways in which they contribute as parents. Mothers, deservedly or not, garner the lion’s share of recognition when it comes to the important business of raising a family. But Father’s Day, with its prominently marketed golf wares, grilling must-haves and sea of manly fragrances, forces us to shift our collective sentiment and pay homage to dear, old Dad.

And as I wander the aisles in search of the perfect greeting card for my father—one that I believe captures the essence of our relationship, keys on our shared allegiance to witticism and adequately gives thanks for the sacrifices he’s made and the wisdom he’s imparted, I find myself settling for that which falls disappointingly short. Hallmark, it seems, hasn’t stumbled upon the right assemblage of words just yet. Somehow their writers have missed the mark, along with all the other clever wordsmiths who’ve failed to deliver the sort of message my father needs to receive—the one that perhaps all fathers need to receive. So thank you, Dad, for so many things…

…for encouraging me to forge my own path instead of assuming that the paths of others would necessarily be right for me…for letting me climb to the tops of trees and to skateboard with wild abandon…for ferrying me to the ER when necessary.

…for teaching me how to throw a fastball, wield a mean golf club and sink a jump shot on command…for being my biggest advocate (even still) and for believing in me even before I believed in myself.

…for being oh-so-generous with your time…for listening intently to my wishes and worries…for considering me a www.melindawentzel.comworthy companion as we jogged over the back roads of town, watched doubleheaders into the wee hours and sat in scratchy lawn chairs together, completely mesmerized by the thunderstorms that rolled across the skies in the midst of July’s unbearable heat, summer after endless summer.

…for letting me date boys with mustaches and muscle cars…for traipsing around the kitchen in your underwear late at night, when said boys needed reminding that it was time to go home (an infinitely mortifying experience then, but absolutely hilarious now)…for walking me down the aisle—twice—and never once saying I told you so.

…for introducing me to the concept of balancing a checkbook, as well as finding balance in my life…for teaching me to accept failure when it comes to call and to learn from my missteps…to appreciate having grandparents, a roof overhead and acres of woods all around.

…for tolerating my teenage years (Oy!), for trusting me with your beloved cars even though the voices inside your head must have screamed, “Noooo!” and for resisting the overwhelming desire to share with my High School Yearbook Committee that hideous photo of me with the mumps. For that alone, I love you dearly.

…for navigating so many road trips—to distant airports, to a good number of college campuses I considered calling home, to my very first job interview in the city. Never mind that we got horribly lost in the process; but getting awww.melindawentzel.com glimpse of the White House at rush hour surely was grand.

…for inspiring me to be a responsible individual, to work hard and to strive to do good in this world…for illustrating the power of forgiveness, the refuge of one’s church and the necessary nature of grieving our losses…for reminding me that things usually work out in the end—even when they look entirely hopeless at the start.

…for underscoring the importance of finding time for one’s children, time for one’s marriage and time for oneself…for helping me recognize the inherent value of ice cream sundaes, the versatility of duct tape and the irreplaceable nature of a good friend.

…for loving your grandchildren with as much ferocity as you loved me, for implanting within me the seeds of faith and for showing me the beauty of marrying one’s best friend.www.melindawentzel.com

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (giving thanks for my dad). Visit me there at www.facebook.com/NotesfromPlanetMom.

Copyright 2011 Melinda L. Wentzel



Filed under "N" is for Nostalgia

The Truth about Dads

On the outside, dads are like steel. Anodized steel to be exact. But way down, deep inside, they’re all mush. Every last one of them. Show me any cantankerous, tough as nails, testosterone-driven Neanderthal, and I’ll show you his softer side—and we needn’t even be near a Sears Department Store.

For some unknown reason, back when the rules of life were written, people got the harebrained idea that men, and little boys who would eventually grow to become men, weren’t supposed to show any signs of sensitivity. Period. They were expected to go through life as no-nonsense, rough-and-tumble, insensitive, emotionless creatures capable only of fathering children, providing for and protecting their families, fighting wars, shoveling snow and fixing whatever happened to be broken around the house. Most of them could also be counted on for lugging heavy stuff here and there—which isn’t such a bad thing.

Any man worth his salt developed a callous exterior by the time he could vote, which was sure to shield him from whatever touchy-feely stuff life threw his way. This protective shell served not only to keep things from getting in, but also to prevent seepage of emotions to the world outside. Surely the sky would have fallen if anyone had ever discovered that men had feelings. Look out, Chicken Little!

Unfortunately, as I look around even today, a lot of men still play by these silly unwritten rules. They obsess over what others may think of them and worry about appearing weak or unmanly if a mere smidgeon of sensitivity spills out. They refuse to allow themselves to blubber during movies, to whimper at weddings, to sob over sprained ankles or to bawl over breakups. Even crying over spilled milk is deemed unacceptable. Furthermore, should any man under any circumstances ever admit to “needing a good cry,” immediate banishment from the He-man Woman Haters Club would undoubtedly result. I just don’t get it. It must be “a guy thing.” At least women have enough sense to cry it out once in a while—or to gorge on chocolate.

Of course, all the real men (lovers and haters of quiche alike), who have adopted these impossible societal standards as their own, can’t fool me. I know the real score. Those hardened exteriors, seemingly impervious to anything and everything, are capable of melting away, layer by layer.

Watch closely as men become fathers. Their stone-like barriers soften as they

provide comfort and support for their wives during pregnancy and childbirth, as they hold their wriggly newborns, kiss their boo-boos and sweep monsters from beneath their beds. As they teach their children to cross streets, throw a ball and balance a two-wheeler dads often beam with pride. They give so much of themselves as they read to them, listen to them and answer their endless questions. They rarely refuse a requested piggy-back or horsie ride and they know no bounds when it comes to making faces, singing silly songs or holding tea parties with imaginary guests. Eventually, their true colors come out whether or not they want the world to see.

Even as their children progress through adolescence and it seems as though nothing but frustration is felt, hidden deep inside are compassion and sensitivity. Dads, too, instinctively worry—about the driving, about the dating, about the decisions that face their delicate and inexperienced charges. They hope and pray and dream for their children, like any parent should. Graduations, engagements and weddings serve only to peel more buffers away, revealing the tenderness inside. Personally, there is little else I find more appealing in a man.

Happy Father’s Day to all those who understand what it means to be a real man—and a good dad. You know what your youngest child likes for breakfast, that your middle child is afraid of the dark and that your oldest hates to be embarrassed in front of his friends. You realize that parenting calls for teamwork in order to be successful; so you do your part. You’re tuned in. And sensitive. And, like it or not, mushy inside. But it’s okay. Your secret is safe with me.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live.

Copyright 2004 Melinda L. Wentzel


Filed under Holiday Hokum, Mushy Stuff