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Then: Father

Now: Father

When I was growing up, my father brought in the bacon.  All of it.  He went to work every morning at 6:00 and came home every evening around 5:30.  When he walked in the door after a hard day at the office, my mom handed him a cocktail, the newspaper and a slice of rye bread.  (Don't ask.  I'm not sure why he wanted this, unless of course, it was a symbol of being the bread winner.) For the next half hour he would sit and relax while my mom finished making dinner and my sister and I set the table.  

I guess you'd say he was a lot like Ward Cleaver or Jim Anderson on "Father Knows Best."  And back then I believed he did know best.  After all, he was the man of the house.  My father.    

This routine lasted for many, many years until my sister and I started high school, at which time our mom wanted to go to work.  Not so much for the money.  But how many times can you change the bedding, scrub the toilets, rearrange the pantry, or play golf in one week?  

But Mom going to work wasn't the only change that took place in our household.  Now my father's daughters were dating.  Goodbye Ward Cleaver.  Hello Archie Bunker.    

My father wasn't exactly like good old Archie, but when it came to the boys his girls were bringing home, he could be quite judgmental.  After all, he had once been a teenage boy and he knew how boys could act toward girls.  When their daughters start dating it must be a scary time for fathers.  And of course, as a teenage girl, I knew my father did NOT know what was best for me!  

Some of my boy friends were definitely  "undesirables"  in my father's eyes.  In looking back, I can't say as I blame him.  With only two daughters, he had five son-in-laws.  So, I guess he had reason to be concerned.

Let’s not forget the time he had to bail me out of jail. (Nothing serious) The many months when he wondered when I was going to get on with my life after I came back from Europe.  And what the heck was I doing with my college degree.  Of course, I was wondering that same thing myself.  

So, eventually I went to find who I was in life, with the security of always knowing where to find my father.  In his workshop.  Throughout the years he was always building something.  From gigantic wall units, to roll-top desks to rocking horses.  More recently he's turned to small wooden objects such as stamp holders, bagel tongs and boxes with secret openings.  Sometimes he actually makes me guess what it is that he has made.    

But I never have to guess how much he loves me.  And of all the things he's built, the best is the strong foundation upon which my sister and I lived for many years. Until the time came for us to build lives of our own.    

He won't read this column online, because at eighty-eight, he's not that adept at computers.  But I know my mom will print it up and give it to him.  

These days, my father's world is getting smaller.  Yet, in my world, his presence is bigger than ever.  

And I've since learned one truth:  My father really does know best.  

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the wonderful fathers in our lives.



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tinaf wrote Jun 20, 2009
    • Aw, Janie, how sweet.  And yes, as we get older we understand all our dads DID know and look back on things with new and deeper perspective.

      Thanks for posting this, and hoping you and your dad have a wonderful one!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lazylola wrote Jun 20, 2009
    • Thanks for sharing. Times have changed the role of fathers.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      L J wrote Jun 20, 2009
    • janie that was so true...
      i looked at my dad tonight when he came to eat with us and i thought about how smart he really is and how my life would not be good without him,..

      • and every time i see him or talk to him on the phone, i always try to tell him that i love him at the end before he leaves or hangs up .....*
        because that way i know in my heart that he will always know if he leaves this world, that he was loved...


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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Pamaloon wrote Jun 21, 2009
    • Janie - I wish I could have had a dad like yours. He sounds like he was the rock in your lives growing up. I didn’t get that, but I married someone who has given all these things to my kids. :) Tell your Dad “Happy Father’s Day!” from me.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Jun 21, 2009
    • Tina -  I wish you and your dad a wonderful day, too.

      Lazylola - Times definitely have changed.

      Linda -  Saying I LOVE YOU is so important.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Jun 21, 2009
    • Pam - Happy Father’s Day to your husband.  Your kids are so very lucky.  As are you.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jenz ~ wrote Jun 21, 2009
    • It’s quite a loaded subject.
      Fatherhood-
      As for me, I really don’t have a relationship with mine. (Don’t know the maternal one) and my adopted one has basically chosen to, as the adopted Mom has also, pretty much just step off of actually playing any role as a Dad. None of us understand it. But, whatever.
      It’s also interesting to me that so many men these days just decide to blow off their kids like it’s just an option to do so. Just walk away as though it never happened.. WEIRD.
      A friend of mine is on the phone w/ me as we speak discussing this same thing. Her 10 yr old son has not seen his Dad, ahem ahem cough cough, FATHER/DONOR, in 5 YEARS. SO UNCOOL.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Jun 21, 2009
    • Jenz - Yes, too many fathers choose not to be fathers at all.  And I don’t understand how they can be that way.  But for every one who isn’t “there” for his children, there are dozens more who are.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Jun 21, 2009
    • Ger -  Your husband sounds like a wonderful man.  Your kids are lucky to have him.  Their biological father is the one losing out.   Thanks for sharing.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Frannie1964 wrote Jun 21, 2009
    • I never met my Biological Father, he left when I was a baby, so I didn’t have a Father growing up. When I got older I had a step-dad who at first I didn’t get along with, but I grew to love and by that time It was too late, he got cancer and passed away. So I thought, I guess I just wasn’t meant to have a Dad. My Mom remarried last year but I don’t call him dad, I just call him by his name.

      I hope all you women who have Fathers enjoy this day with them and show them all your love. And give them a great big HUG!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Jun 21, 2009
    • Frannie - Thanks for sharing.  You never know what each day is going to bring, so I always tell those around me I love them every time I say goodbye.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lindao wrote Jun 21, 2009
    • Great post, Janie.  I was also fortunate enough to have a dad who was always there for me when I needed him.  Now, I live a long distance from him, but it was fun wishing him a Happy Father’s Day by phone.  My mom’s husband was always very nice to me, too.  Unfortunately, he passed away last year.  My husband has been a wonderful dad to our two sons, teaching them lots—and, these days, also learning from them!  

      Happy Father’s Day to all dads! —LindaO



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Jun 21, 2009
    • Linda - You’ve been very lucky.  That’s what I tell my grandkids.  They’ll be getting a stepdad soon.  It doesn’t take away from their dad, it just adds more love in their lives.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mz. Queen wrote Jun 21, 2009
    • My memories are much like yours, we set the table, my father got off the bus, entered the house, washed off and then we ate. I called my daddy this morning, hoping for the day when I can be there in person.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Jun 21, 2009
    • 47ntired - I hope that day comes soon.  Thanks for stopping by.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janet Wooley wrote Jun 21, 2009
    • I had a wonderful Dad growing up, I love him to death, same situation, always worked  until he retired. Mom in the kitchen making dinner for us all (7) kids. Teen years were hell at my home, brothers got into drugs, sister has a baby @ 14, one ran away got into drugs. I thought my mom would have a nervous breakdown, she thought everything was her fault. She did the best she could.She had a pretty sad childhood, so from that she did what she knew to be right. Today my mom and I have a great relationship my dad as well. My father is so funny I love being around my parents.
      I raised my 2 sons alone, their father was a addict and just walked away, did not see him for years. My boys always wished me a Happy Father’s day. I am proud of both my boys they are fine men today, (wish I could get some grandkids one day). Happy Fathers Day Daddy. I love you estatic



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Jun 22, 2009
    • Virginia -  Dad in a chair, Mom in the kitchen.  But, you know, I think it worked out pretty well back then.

      Janet -  It sounds like your boys have a great mother!  

      Thanks for stopping by.



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