Dear Dad

Posted by Jeff Pauls on 10th Jun 2019

Dear Dad

You were born in Corn, Oklahoma. You’re the third youngest of 10 children. As far as I know, there are only three of your family still living: You, Uncle Dave, and Uncle Adonijah. You’re in the middle of those two sons.

In the past few years, your health has not been what it once was. Having had at least two strokes, your memory is not what it once was. Some things you remember in spurts. You’ll question something and then it comes to you. Some things you are vague on. There’s something that seems familiar to you, but you need to ask for more details and then you remember more clearly. There are times when you just know, like you always have. 

You’ve been reading a devotional book that usually comes up whenever we talk on the phone. Each time you tell me about it, it’s as though you’re telling me for the first time. You really enjoy reading it and it gives you comfort. You like to think about what it says. And even though you’ve told me the title of the book 5-10 times, I couldn’t tell you what it is right now. Does that mean my memory is going? Or is that because I’m not paying attention? These questions about memory make me wonder what exactly memory is and how it works. Can I make it work, or does it only work on it’s own? I can’t remember that book title, but I remember how much you like it. I remember you going to find it, so that you could read the title to me, because you couldn’t think of the title at the time. And it turns out, neither can I. I remember you’ve told me about it lots of times. You don’t remember that you’ve told me about it at all. Does it matter?

You are my dad, no matter what I remember about you. You are my dad, no matter what you remember about anything--yourself, your life, or your family. You will always be my dad. You crafted all kinds of things for me when I was a that I could play--a sandbox, a camper for the back of my green, Buddy L pickup truck, my bike, a fort...all kinds of things. I learned how to build things, paint houses, throw a ball, shoot a basket, and ride a bike. You were my teacher. You still are.

Your patience, your solemnity, your smile, your laugh, the twinkle in your eye--all of you teaches me who I am. I’m your son, and you’re my dad. You have always been there. You never left. There were times that I was annoyed with you. There were times, especially that year after I graduated from high school that I was so caught up in myself that all I could be was angry. I was a jerk. You got frustrated with me, but overall, you remained patient and kind. That was the year I helped you paint houses. You never told me to stay home. You always took me along. How did you do it? I’ve been a dad for 24 years now, so I have some idea. But even so, I don’t think either of our sons ever acted like I did for how long I did. So, yeah, you were always around. Thanks for that, dad. Thanks for being patient with me.

I know things are different now, and you can’t always remember everything. I know you can’t do some of the stuff that you like to do now because it’s just too hard. You’re 83 years old. It’s not easy, but it’s ok. You’ve been a good dad and a good man. You’re still both.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you.