Monday, November 9, 2009

My Dad

**This is another post from my old blog that I wanted to add to this one. It's about my Dad. And me. **

Picture 040

I’ve been thinking about what makes a good dad. Isaac and I babysit a little girl a couple times a month and it's been interesting to see how Isaac interacts with her. Sometimes I get there late, and I’ll walk in to see him feeding her and talking to her (she’s not even one yet) about Greek or philosophy or something like that. HILARIOUS. Greek in a baby voice. He’ll be a playful Dad, I think. He reminds me of my dad in the way he plays with kids and the way he loves to joke around and be laughed at. I'm told Dad was the class clown as a child, and nearly everyone that signed his childhood yearbooks talked about how funny he was. After marriage that merely morphed to being the family clown and absolutely loving it.

From childhood

I remember when we were little Caleb would tease Dad about his age, or about how he was balding, or how he'd "fixed" the water heater four times, and then Caleb would sit there giggling nervously, just waiting for Dad to jump up and chase Caleb around the house as Caleb screamed with laughter. I remember driving home from the beach with my friends when my Dad spontaneously broke out in a falsetto version of "In the Jungle" and Randall and Nathan looked at me with wide eyes like.... is this normal? Yes, it was.

You know, my dad was always in a position of leadership when I was a kid, and therefore was very busy. He wasn't absent, mostly because mom worked to keep him coming home on time to have dinner with the family and play with the kids. I just know it wasn’t easy for him to balance the career and the family. Us kids adored him, and still do. We have all always openly said and thought that dad is just fantastic. He’s a comedian at heart, and he hardly had to say anything to get us kids dying of laughter at his jokes (or the way he laughs at his own jokes, which always makes my mom groan.)
From childhood

I did always go to Dad discuss politics and theology because I shared those interests with him. It always takes him forever to come around to his final point (I sometimes say I could leave the room in the middle of a discussion and come back with plenty of time to hear the point Dad was trying to get to the whole time), but he is so great about thinking about things and not being dogmatic. That came back to play in college as I struggled with my faith. I emailed my Dad once essentially saying... look... I don't think swearing is bad, I might vote Democrat, I drink, and in general I am feeling different... - how do you feel about that? I essentially was scared. I was seeking truth but was afraid of how the people I loved the most would feel about it. Dad's response was so beautiful and grace-filled- he told me that he knew that I was seeking the Lord, and that Dad felt secure in my seeking and changing because he knew that I was doing it all through my faith in Christ... even if it looked different than the way he and Mom live. I cried.
Dad and Matt

The strange thing is, I wouldn’t say my relationship with my dad was close for most of my growing up years. I didn’t talk to him or my mom about things going on in my life, and since then we've all wondered why that is - where the precedent was set to not talk. There's a moment that sticks out in my mind as the moment that I realized my daddy loved me with all of the fierce protectionism that only a dad can muster. Since then the relationship is changed - and I will tell him anything

I was 18 when I came up the stairs and walked into our house in Papua at 4 am with tears streaming down my cheeks. We were leaving within hours to go to a conference on the island of Bali, and from there I was flying alone to the big bad world of America to unhappily begin life in the real world at college. To me, my life was ending that morning and most things I knew and loved would be out of my life, probably forever. It was the hardest day of my life. When I walked up those stairs I had just said goodbye to the boy I had fallen hard for in the previous months. It was a scene that mirrored the movies and carried the flood of emotions and dreams and tenderness that that came with a first relationship.
From childhood

So, I walked up the stairs feeling truly heartbroken about everything I was losing that day to a future that was completely blank. When I walked in, my dad was awake, scrambling to try to get everything ready for our departure. He turned around from his seat at his desk and saw me walk in and knew… just knew. He gathered me into his arms and cried WITH me… cried because he hurt that I was hurting. I so needed the arms of my daddy to hold me up at that moment, and I get teary every time I retell the story.

From childhood

I think it was divine providence that it was my dad that met me in that most difficult moment in my life. It was indescribably powerful to have him there as a witness, to have a dad’s love surround me, knowing that he was a permanent relationship when everything else was passing. You know, neither my dad nor I cry over most things, but Dad often cries over his kids, I think especially his daughters. He will often pray for me over the phone if something is heavily on my mind, which is completely disarming because of the gentleness and love in his prayers.
From childhood

It’s so SO powerful, knowing your parents love you. I may struggle because of a lot of things from growing up in the church, transitioning between worlds, and losing friends, and just being a broken human being….. but the way my parents have loved me has been the most healing thing. I’ve seen so many people react hesitantly to dads that are openly tender with their daughters, and I understand that because of the high rates of sexual abuse. I never experienced that, so I can speak to the power of a dad who loves his daughters without being inappropriate. I knew Dad was proud when I was voted onto the school student council and he encouraged my love for history and theology and gave me a teasing hard time about the way I always had an opinion about everything. When I make a decision he wants to know my reasons but never reprimands me. The self-respect and independence that gives me is invaluable.
From Summer 2009

I watch young families starting around me and hope that this generation of dads learns to love their daughters well. It's a difficult responsibility, but it's also your greatest legacy. Now that I work with Freshman girls, again I see the immense impact that Dads have on their daughters. Love them well!
From Summer 2009


Ramit said...

Look no further Kacie, your's is indeed the best.

Niamh Griffin said...

What a beautiful post Kacie. It's great that the love between you and your dad is still so strong in spite of all the upheavals in your life!

thegypsymama said...

Oh this is the most beautiful testament to the power of parenting - it gave me chills. What a remarkable father your dad sounds like and what an incredible gift he has given by sowing so generously into your life. I loved hearing it - thanks for sharing!

Togenberg said...

Such a beautiful post.

I'd really like to have kids and I'd like to embody some of the traits that you see your dad as having.

That's a very touching post!