Friday, June 11, 2010

Smiling Back



Every little girl thinks that her dad stands head and shoulders above the crowd. Mine really did. Dad was a massive man, six feet five inches tall and 250 pounds of father. When I was a little girl, I thought he was the most handsome man in the world. I never really changed my mind.

Dad would have turned 72 today. I have thought on and off about writing of him, but it just seemed that I couldn’t really do him justice… couldn’t really convey on the written page just what a huge man he was.

His hands were huge. A cousin still tells the story of how my dad was his hero, how he boasted to his friends that his Uncle Dave could crack a walnut with one bare hand. To a kid, that was a big thing. Dad made everything look so effortless.

His feet were huge. He grew up in a time when size fourteen shoes weren’t available. His mother bought the largest shoes she could find, and he would squeeze into them. Dad just plodded along…

His voice was huge, and his laugh was huge, but most of all, his heart was huge. And when he committed to something, he did so with every inch of that huge heart.

He was committed to his company. He was passionate about his community. He loved his country, and even cancer couldn’t keep him in his wheelchair when his flag was passing by.

But more than that...
He was committed to his family. He was committed to his wife. He was committed to his God.

Dad knew what mattered.

He was a busy man, yet as much as was in his power, he never missed an event for a child or a grandchild. It must have been frustrating for such a manly guy to live in the world of pink and ruffles. I’m sure he would have preferred ball games to recitals and Pinewood Derbies to band concerts, but he never complained. He wasn’t there for the event, he explained; he was there for the child. Dad believed that every child should be able to look out into the crowd and know that someone was there for no other reason than to smile back at them.

Maybe that’s why God made him so huge… so he could stand head and shoulders above the crowd while he was doing it.

It’s been 11 years since that summer of ’99 when Dad lost his fight with cancer. Time marched on without our permission, and we have sat as a family through countless opportunities to smile back at Dad’s grandchildren.

We have cheered at cross country meets and applauded at band concerts.  We’ve smiled back when they received honors,
gave speeches,
turned tassels,
exchanged vows.

And even though I miss him every day, it’s at those times that I miss him the most. Often, I catch myself glancing at the Duchess, half expecting to see him sitting there with her, smiling back.

Of course, he isn’t there.
But by faith I know where he is.
And though my mind can’t comprehend what it will be like to stand in Glory, one thing I know:
My dad is smiling.

And so I try to sit up just a little bit taller, and I smile back.

19 comments:

Gayle said...

A very touching post. Your dad sounds like a giant of a man in every way. Thanks for sharing a glimpse of him.

Jennie said...

Ahhhh! Such a beautiful post, Mrs. Debbie! Thank you for filling my heart up right before I go to bed. He sounds absolutely wonderful and I have no doubts...seeing as how the rest of his family that I know is just the same. I'm blessed to know you all! When I think of *you*, mostly, I think of you sitting in the row behind us and whenever I turn around, there you are...smiling back. :)

Anonymous said...

I didn't find this post until this morning. Oh sister, you have such a way with words. You portrayed daddy perfectly. I thought about him often yesterday as well. He would smile down on you and touch his fingers to his lips and throw you a kiss for this wonderful tribute. You made me cry. Of course.
Hugs,
Denise

Sandy said...

Lovely post.. wishing all your loving memories of your Dad fill your days!
My memories of my Mom are the same.. 12 years now and I still smell her....
Thanks so much for your visit to my blog today.. sweet words!
Sandy

Valerie @intelligent-expressions said...

You and I have an awful lot in common.
This post surely could have been about my dad - with a few changes:

my dad was 6'4"
he would have been 85 this year
he died of cancer in 1995

What a beautiful post!

Thank you too for your kind words. I am so uplifted by your comments and knowing that somehow God is using me to bless others.

Valerie

Tracy F. said...

A lovely tribute to your dad. Mine passed away 16 years ago, next week, just a few days before Father's Day. In fact, my present to him arrived in the email the day after he died.Just as with your father, mine will live forever in my heart.

cindy said...

What a wonderful blessing Jesus Christ has given to us. WE have the reassurance of a wonderful homecoming. I have a son, Joshua, who would be 23- we lost him in Nov 2003. I thank Jesus daily for that wonderful we'll have.

BECKY said...

You are HILARIOUS Debbie!! I think you and I would be buddy buddy friends if you lived down here!! AND... just for that...you need to email me your address and I am going to send you a surprise, too!! holidayinthesun_1@yahoo.com

Hope your weekend is fab, dear!!
Thanks for the smiles!
HUGS,
Becky

BECKY said...

Oh Debbie, I just went back and read this post. What a blessed woman you are to have had such a great Dad!!

Both my parents went to be with the Lord in 2004. Between that and menopause, I feel like I am just now back to my normal self!! I was also blessed with great parents, and owe them so very much for loving me so well!!

Big hugs Debbie. I know so well what you are feeling.
Becky

Beautiful pear tree lane said...

What an awesome tribute to your father Debbie, And what a wonderful legacy he has left his family. I too was very close to my father, and still miss him so much. But you and I have that blessed hope of being together with them one day, and trying to catch up on everything. What joy that will be.Thank you for sharing this post so full of love, and respect. Hope you are having a fun filled weekend.
Hugs,
Sue

Lynn Richards said...

Oh, Debbie.
My dad was just about as big as yours!! We lost him 8 years ago. I can't say I have the amazing foundation that your father gave you, (far from it!) but the last three years of his life, he made up for a lot of lost ground, and I have some sweet, sweet memories.
What a legacy your father left you. I'm sure he is so very proud of you.
xoxo
lynn

Anonymous said...

Debbie, how lucky that you and your sisters had such a loving father. But like Lynne my father wasn't the best but as life went on he mellowes some and made for a memoable last few years. Altho he refused to admidt he had a favorite Grandchild he had one in my Amy! She adored him and followed him everywhere and when it was nap time she took Pop's to bed and looped her hand in his belt loop so she would know if he got up! It was totally cute and one of the best memories we have of him.

Blessings, Beth

The Pleasures of Homemaking said...

This was a beautiful tribute to your Dad. He seemed like an awesome man and you were lucky to have had such a man as a father.

Manuela

Beverly said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Dad. I lost my Dad on March 20th of this year. I was wondering how I am going to get through Fathers Day and basically this year. Than I read your post. I will get through my remembering how special my Dad was and how many lives he touched. I will cry, but it will not be all grief, but joy also. Joy for all the wonderful things he stood for. Your Dad sounds like he was a wonderful wonderful man. I think him and my Dad would have been great friends. Who knows, maybe they have already met and made friends, and are just waiting for the day when we can join them again. Take care and I am thinking of you today:)

Gail @ Faithfulness Farm said...

What a lovely tribute to your dad. I am so blessed to still have my Dad...he was 70 this year and although only 5'8", he's always stood taller than any man I've know :)

Blessings!
Gail

FrouFrouBritches said...

Oh, Debbie, I'm so glad you wrote this. I feel like I know him from your description. He sounds like a wonderful man!! No wonder you're so sweet! Like father, like daughter.

CAL said...

Beautiful words spoken about a wonderful man, your Dad. Thanks for sharing your moments and thoughts, I know he must have been thankful for you.

Kelli said...

What a wonderful tribute to a loving father. My dad passed away May 2009 and your words touched my heart. Thank you!!!

Linda W said...

Such beautiful words spoken from your heart. We never forget the first man we loved, the first one who loved us. Yes, our dads. God bless them whether they're here with us or smiling down on us.

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