• Why A Dad Smiles

    by  • March 9, 2010 • Children, Love - Pure and Simple • 0 Comments

    If I remember anything about my dad, it was the deafening noise and
    the bouncing rides on his machinery. I was small, so I would ride
    beside him – usually in a pickup truck or on the wheel hub of a
    tractor, but I also rolled with him on other stuff – combines,
    bulldozers, water trucks, grain trucks, 18-wheelers – and it was
    usually a blast.

    He only knew one speed, wide open, and quite naturally, the noise
    blanketed everything. Always so much power, always so much noise –
    nothing much was ever said, nor could it be – for the noise silenced
    any real conversation.
    But from time to time, he would look over at me and smile. I always
    thought it was a happy smile – that of a boy with his favorite toy. I
    never knew exactly what the smiles meant, but I saw them often, and I
    knew they were good.

    Unfortunately, the real conversations never took place.

    I suffered for the loss of him. His untimely death left painful,
    unanswered questions. At times my anger made me wonder if, in all his
    selfishness, he ever had loved me at all.
    But when my anger finally subsided, my fondest memories returned –
    those bumpy rides, and especially those smiles. But for years, I never
    knew what they really meant.

    It took you to teach me that.

    One day we were in the car, perhaps I had just picked you up from your
    mother’s and we were on the way to my house. Maybe we were on the way
    to the amusement park. I am not really sure, but was an air of
    happiness and anticipation.

    I looked from the road, and there you sat, your little legs poking
    straight and your little shoes, the Barney ones I think, hung off the
    front of the seat. You smiled up at me, and I smiled back.

    My dear, sweet child, such a joy and so entirely precious to me.

    I realized then, that I smiled at you a lot like that. And for the
    first time, I understood how my dad must have felt. Thank you for that
    gift.

    You have to understand, a man often finds it hard to tell his child
    how much he loves her. And some men are so tough, so beaten, so numb,
    they don’t even understand what they feel, but they feel, and in their
    way, they love and in the simplest ways they sometimes dare to reach
    out.

    Now you are growing up, estranged from me as it were, and you have
    disappeared into your own world. My hope is that you will return to me
    one day. My hope for you is that you will not have to deal with the
    with unanswered questions like the ones that for so long tormented
    me.

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