My daddy has been a vaulted man for most of my life. I never understood why. I only knew that as a child and an adult I yearned for him to talk to me…tell me things about him. The child in me longed for the stories and the adventures. But the human in me wanted a deeper relationship, to talk and go do things together. There’s something about a little girl and her daddy, or at least what I interpreted from watching my friends with their dads.
It’s been 3 years since I’ve began my quest to get to know daddy. I can’t tell you what prompted me to begin this journey, but I think it was intuition, or maybe it was that I sat still long enough to listen. I began with curiosity and a book. The book had questions in it. As I perused the book, I realized that I didn’t know a lot of basic things about my dad. Sure there were the obvious things I didn’t know like our family tree and how he met my mom or why she left. But really I didn’t even know simple things like his favorite color or favorite food or even family traditions.
I told dad about the book and showed it to him. He looked at it curiously. “What do you think dad?” I asked hopefully, and he answered, “sure, I could probably do that.” Inside, I was elated, and I wanted to grab him and hug him, but I knew I didn’t want to scare him. He was like a frightened deer talking about anything more than the weather and fishing and/or tractors.
The first year was peppered with just a few questions here and there, about every few days or sometimes just once a week. At first, I could only ask daddy really simple questions like family tree information or things he liked or didn’t like. That was safe enough.
However, if I asked a question that was too deep, he feigned an “I don’t know” or a “I have to go and fix dinner now” or “I’ll get back to that” (which he never did.) I could hear in his voice that I had hit a nerve and the pain was too raw to look at. Those were days he had looked at once and tucked away for good.
But there was something that kept him coming back. Was it that every one of us wants to leave a legacy of some sort? Is it that everyone wants to leave some small part of themselves in this world to know they had not lived their life in vein?
Also, at first, daddy would only answer the questions that were in the book. If I was there in person, he would peek over to make sure the question was in the book. He still didn’t trust me, and that was okay. Fortunately for me, I knew that I shouldn’t go off track, or he might not talk anymore. Actually, most of the time I worried if one day he would just stop answering questions. And I realized that worry didn’t serve me. I was learning more about dad than I ever had. It was these little gold nuggets that I kept digging up. Like gold, you cherish each little bit you find, even the flecks.
Fast forward three years, to last night. I chatted just a short chat with my daddy before he went to bed. I helped him calm his fears because nighttime is evil to him. (He has Sundowners.) And I told him, “I love you daddy and sleep well.” His words back to me were simple, but went straight to the heart.
“Thanks for being nice to me.”
Wow. Six little words that startled me into reality. Isn’t that what we ALL want? …someone to be nice to us, especially in a world that is sometimes cruel. We just want to know someone cares. And sometimes it’s in the simple things…talking on the phone and ask them about themselves. Daddy responded, as I think I would, grateful that someone was nice to me. It’s always been a journey for me to find the gold in every soul I meet, even those I might not care for or understand…it’s there. Now it’s my mission to find it and cherish it all people. There are so many treasures I have yet to meet.
Got a shovel? It’s time to dig!
*Disclaimer: I am not saying this will work for every person. But I do know this, that most of the time when you take the time to listen and ask questions, that people respond. Sometimes you have to sift through the response to see what is there, and look deep for what this person is offering you, no matter how small.
Have a most blessed day my fellow friends,