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Off Topic: A Tribute To My Father, and My Biggest Regret

 
Been thinking about my father today. He was an alcoholic whose drinking made our lives very difficult, but he was a gentle and kind man, much beloved by everyone he met. I learned a lot from him, and I miss him so much.
 
There are so many things I would say to him if I could only go back. I was a wild child in my late teens, early 20s. He pulled me out of a lot of scrapes, and stood by me a lot more than my mother ever did. 
 
He was the one who walked me to every new school when we moved, and took me everywhere I needed to go. He was the one who came to visit me when I was in the hospital, not my mom. He was the one who paid my rent when I was in college. He was the one who bought my older son his first bike and taught him to ride, because I was always working and didn't have time or money. He was the one who bought me a car seat so I could bring my younger son home from the hospital, because I had no money. He was the one who paid for day care for my sons so I could work. He was the one who bought me clothes when I needed them for a new job.
 
He was the one who encouraged my gardening, and bought me tools I still use to this day. He asked me one Christmas what I wanted, and I said "A hoe." He laughed and said "Doesn't everybody?" I was 30, and realized that was the moment he had finally realized I was an adult. 
 
He was a certified genius with an IQ of 160 who was invited to Mensa, but wouldn't join. He was an army Major who fought in WWII, and that is what messed him up so much that he became an alcoholic. He was a Citadel honor graduate who was honored by them in his later years. I don't even know what for. I wish I did. 
 
When I was a young child, 4 or 5, I had trouble sleeping. My mom would get mad at me, but my Daddy would put me into bed between the two of them, and we would sing. He had a beautiful baritone voice, my mom had a beautiful voice as well. We would sing spirituals; Down by the Riverside, The Old Rugged Cross, and more. That's how I learned to sing. I would fall asleep on his shoulder with his arm around me, and he would carry me back to my bed.
 
When I would get upset about something, he would ask "Can you change it?" If the answer was "yes," he would say "Then do it." If the answer was "no," he would say "Then stop worrying about it." He told me that we are always exactly where we are supposed to be in our lives at any moment. I didn't understand, until I got older and realized that in order to move forward, you have to learn the lessons from where you are.
 
He was funny, loved to tell jokes, and I got my wry sense of humor from him. I also got my penchant for speaking my mind, except he was much kinder when he spoke his.
 
I inherited his intelligence, and I look just like him, but I am not nearly as good a person as he was. Not even close.
 
I'm so sorry I did not treat him better. Maybe if I had, he wouldn't have drunk so much, if I had just helped him instead of being such a bad daughter.
 
I still talk to him when my life is turning upside down, and somehow, I feel like he's there, and he listens.
 
If you're somehow listening, Daddy, I'm so sorry. The one thing I can't change is the one thing I'll regret the rest of my life.