Today is my dad’s birthday. Had he still been alive, he would have been 98 today. Instead, he has been gone for a little over 18 years now. I used to be incredibly afraid of my dad. He was rough and could be quite angry. His solution to most problems was to spank us. And, by spankings, I mean making us go to the backyard and cut off a good sized branch from the willow tree. If we didn’t get a good enough one, he would get one and would hurt even more.
Spare the rod, spoil the child? I don’t know. I do know that was a different time in the world and kids getting clobbered was common. There was no call to a social worker or no call to the police. It was just “take your medicine” time.
We were not as close as my mom and I were. I did not seem to share my dad’s likes, except for fishing. I was horrible at numbers, I didn’t like sports, I took care of our cars but did not enjoy doing so. His joys were more chore for me.
I got closer to my dad in the later years of his life after a couple of mini strokes affected him. His anger was taken away and he became a happier person. It was quite a marked change. Ultimately, he passed away from cancer.
Does it sound like I might have some “unresolved issues” regarding my dad? Yeah, I probably do. I do know that I understand those who have parent issues much better because of the way I was raised. Good or bad, we go through things in life that make us who we are.
I pray that my dad found the peace he was always looking for while alive and I pray that, when united again, we will have a joy-filled reunion. Happy Birthday, Dad. Say hello to mom and grandma and grandpa for me!