My father was not the overtly affectionate type, and I think I can speak for my mom when I say he wasn’t the romantic sort. But when I was a baby, he did turn on the charm for Valentine’s Day.
I can only guess that this was my first Valentine’s, since there is no date on the card. Dad refers to me by the nickname he gave me, “Wee Tookie,” a term of affection from his Irish upbringing. He signs the card: “Lots of love from Da Da,” which I remember calling him when I was very young.
The card is in excellent condition 40-plus years later, and is something I will always treasure.
A recent survey found that dads often get the short end of the stick when it comes to gift-giving on Father’s Day. It seems most of us spend more on our mothers than our fathers. Many people say mothers are easier to shop for, and seem to appreciate gifts more than fathers.
But for those of us who have lost our fathers, or are losing them slowly due to dementia, it is too late to worry about something as trivial as gift-giving. The best we can do is share a loving memory of our fathers, to offer to the world a glimpse of what this special person meant in our lives.
Two loving memories come to my mind this Father’s Day. The first is the lengths my dad went to in confronting the family of the bully who pushed me down at a preschool Halloween party. Dad wasn’t going to let anyone hurt his little girl! The second was just a year or so before Dad began his battle with dementia. He had filled out a prayer card for me, relating my struggles with Celiac disease. I had no idea he was paying attention when I discussed my condition.
After all of those years, Dad was still looking out for his little girl.
What are your favorite memories of your father? How do you honor him on this day?
Today would have been my father’s 82nd birthday. He is so missed each and every day, but I am thankful that Alzheimer’s didn’t keep him trapped in a diseased world for any longer than it did.
But today is a reminder of why I have become an Alzheimer’s awareness advocate. I have become a more compassionate, aware person thanks to my father. To honor my father, and to help those who are going through the same thing with their own parents is now part of my life’s mission. I can no longer give my dad birthday gifts in this world, but trying to make a difference and battling the terrible disease of Alzheimer’s is a gift I will continue to give for the rest of my life.
I’ve posted this before, but I want to share again this montage of photos and my dad singing to me when I was a baby.