Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Breathe {inspiration for wednesdays}

A little over 13 years ago, I went to a funeral.  I went to say goodbye to someone who not only helped give me life, but also gave me courage, strength, his entrepreneurial spirit, and the voice in my head that tells me I can do whatever I put my mind to.  I went to say goodbye to my dad...(or Papa as I called him)...and there are parts of him I have missed everyday since.
See, I think dads are a gift that many times come wrapped in mundane, everyday packaging.  We don't notice all they do - going to work everyday, making repairs to the house even before we know it is broken, teaching us to fish or pushing us because they see something in us we can't see in ourselves.

Dads hold our hands, teach us to swing a bat, throw us on the bed to be tickled and get down on the floor to wrestle with us.  They are warriors who take up their swords everyday to protect their families and fight through the hard stuff so others will be taken care of.  But they just as easily pick up their shovels and do the hard, back breaking labor of the everyday; they know it needs to get done and they quietly do it.  Sometimes they even endure our anger and blame, yet continue standing like Atlas holding up the world for their families.

Dads are our coaches - they might hold on to us so we don't fall but know when letting us fall is the next step in growing up.  They are tender and they are stern, settled down and wild at heart.  Dads do the things no one else wants to do.  They unclog toilets, change flat tires and slay spiders.  (Sometimes they even sit down to a tea party!!)

It is ironic that as I said goodbye to my dad, I was about to say hello to the kicking new life within me.  In a short time, a new dad would enter my life.  We celebrated a birth a few months after attending a funeral.  The man I fell in love with in high school and married, transformed into a dad before my eyes.

As I have watched him with our children, I am amazed by his strength and stability.  He is much better at REALLY playing than I am - of being in the moment, of laughing from the very depths of his being.  My heart melts when he expresses his pride in our kids and I watch our children stand a little taller at the sound of those words.  Where I am prone to cautiousness, he shouts a "Go for it!!" and gives our kids the I-know-you-can-do-this nod every time they doubt themselves.

No dad is perfect and every dad is different to be sure, but I do know this:  that most of us have received gifts from the dads in our life that we would be incomplete without.  My dad's last gift to me came in his death.  It taught me that I am not guaranteed a single moment in life beyond the moment I am currently in.  I must appreciate what I have now, say what needs to be said now, and celebrate those around me now.

May we all - in some way - celebrate the dads that are all around us...and remind them of their powerful impact in this world!!

(Special thanks to the featured dads:  Papa (picture 1), Matt (pictures 2 & 3), Pat (pictures 4, 5 & 6), and my amazing husband (pictures 7 & 8)

"Breath, smile, and go slowly." - Thich Nhat Hahn


Lisa Lombardo said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful sentiment and these amazing images!

Tere Babcock said...

Tara, your work is amazing! And in the time I have gotten to know you, I can clearly see the wisdom you express here in your day to day life (both you and Dave), as well as in your pictures.