Thanks, Dad

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
April 6, 2002

Kleenex Alert

I thought I might die. It was the first semester of my second year in college and my freshman-year boyfriend had just broken up with me. I didn’t know what to do. I had not been without a steady boyfriend since my sophomore year in high school and this one was special. I had seen it as my first legitimate adult relationship being that I was almost twenty. I was miserable, unable to eat or sleep. My room mates were worried, but had given up after trying to cheer me a thousand different ways. I had even written my estranged sweetheart a poem about an old doll that had been left on the shelf. Me. I was so hurt and so young.

I began to call home almost every day after the break-up to muster sympathy from my Mom. My Dad and I however, continued to have those bare bones Dad-and-Daughter phone conversations during our official Sunday phone call – the ones where I reassured him each time that I was studying and had enough money. My Mom and I on the other hand really talked. She wanted to know everything that was happening around campus, what I was learning in my classes and what was good in the cafeteria. These were the days before cell phone “anytime minutes” and unlimited long distance so we began racking up some bills. I waited for the “other fish in the sea” speech that thankfully never came. My Mother was supportive and patient through my tears but after weeks had gone by she finally told me that I was being silly continuing to pine. I knew she was right so I tried to mend my broken heart by burying myself in my studies even more than before and joining a few more college organizations. Dad stayed away from the topic altogether.  I knew that he felt bad that I felt bad but, he generally left emotional rescue to my mother.

One day when I returned to my dorm room from an afternoon class, I found my room mate sitting at her desk grinning up at me. An arrangement of pretty pale flowers sat on the table in the middle of the room.

“For you” she said. My heart stopped. This was it. My ex had finally realized the error of his ways and wanted me back. He hadn’t actually fallen for that Barbie doll freshman in his RA orientation group after all. I approached slowly and lifted the fragrant basket opening the little card with shaky hands. Written there was simply: From the only man who has loved you for twenty years. My eyes filled with tears. My room mate looked at me with confusion.

“These are from my Dad” I choked sitting down to cradle the bouquet in my hands and gaze at the delicate blooms.

“Your Dad? What for?” My room mate crossed the room and sat down next to me, arm around my shoulders. I handed her the card. She smiled again.

“Your Dad’s so sweet.”

“I know” I sniffed. Right there something shifted in me. I gained perspective. My Mom’s steady counsel had aided in my slow recovery but this was the shot that I needed to heal completely.

Many years have passed since then and I am happily married with a daughter of my own. My father has had his own battles to face in recent years with failing health and forced retirement, but the grand image of Dad as protector never really goes away. As it turns out a father’s physical strength is just a metaphor for what he really gives his children. I don’t think I realized the absolute fortress of my Dad’s character, the strength of his morals and convictions until he began to fail physically. Mom had been telling me over and over again how my father never complained about the deterioration of his quality of life no matter how bad he felt but that he often lamented no longer being able to do things with and for us. I wanted a way to reassure him that not being as active anymore had nothing to do with his ability to be a great father. We had traveled together all our lives Dad and I and I did miss that aspect of our relationship. But the foundation and support that he had given me had never weakened. In fact it had strengthened.

I had all but forgotten about the boy friend, my desperation, and Dad’s flowers until I saw a picture in an old album that jogged my memory. My eyes filled with tears again at my father’s sweet gesture. It was just a week before Father’s Day and I had an idea.

My Dad opened his simple card with a weak smile as smiles come harder with Parkinson’s. The flowers had surprised him although he had always been the rare man who appreciated flowers as a gift. The card read: From the only woman who has loved you since the day she was born.

Then I hugged him asking him in a whisper “Do you remember?”

“I remember” he assured me softly. We nodded at each other. As always there was no need for words.

By Heidi Durig Heiby – from “Sweet Little Treasures”
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45 comments
  1. I have to share this with my husband. He’s going to melt, thinking about our only daughter. Thank you for posting this story!! Grace and peace to you!

    Like

    • LOL!!!! I believe the “Truth” touches deep emotions…. And this one sure got me!!! Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

      Like

  2. You got me, Kenny T! Five cups of coffee and two boxes of Kleenex! Have a great weekend! 🙂

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    • Hey Dave, I hope you are doing well??? I always look forward to your comments… Take Care My Friend and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

      Like

    • Hey and thanks for the comment!!! I am enjoying your Blogging adventures along the Gulf Coast!!!! The Pics are grreat… Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

      Like

  3. Joy Hill said:

    thank you fo this, I needed it.

    Like

  4. Totally awesome! Thanks for sharing and bringing joy to my day. What a wonderful way to start my day!

    Like

  5. jessicag said:

    Thanks for the Kleenex warning..but I didn’t take it..and now I’m a sobbing mess! SO BEAUTIFUL!!!

    Like

  6. admin said:

    What a beautiful illustration of dad always being there for his daughter, planting seeds of kindness. His daughter gives back the wonderful crop of love with interest. What a treasure! Thanks for sharing Kenny T! 😀

    Like

  7. Thank you for sharing this so I could start my day with more love for my Daddy in my heart. I will always be a Daddy’s girl. Have a wonderful day!!!

    Like

  8. sheilamariegrimes said:

    sweet memories

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  9. I love the relationship shared between them. Our most important relationship we hold is with the Father. There until the end and beyond.:)

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  10. My father is the same way. He traveled with me to interviews (those far far away) when I was still in school – he’s a protector in his own ways!

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  11. My, my, my… Does someone have a pipe wrench to seal off this water main leak?

    I am sorry to hear of your dad’s affliction…but he remembers. 🙂

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  12. Jessica said:

    How come they won’t let me “like” this more than once? I love that there was a real dad like that out there somewhere, even if it wasn’t mine.

    Like

  13. Great post! My daughter turned 21 last Saturday and, in addition to a few small gifts, I got her an arrangement with 21 red roses – you would have thought I gave her a million dollars!

    Like

  14. Anonymous said:

    Many thanks, from all of us with special dads.
    Theresa

    Like

  15. Gina said:

    Aw geez, I should have read the Kleenex Alert! Beautiful story. I’m dad’s only girl so I’ll have to remember this. 🙂

    Like

  16. Tobe said:

    Just beautiful, i lost my dad at 15 but i’m hoping i meet a man that wld love our kids d way my father loved me. God bless you for posting this.

    Like

  17. Absolutely Beautiful! My Dad is also a man of few words but has always been there when I needed him 🙂

    Like

  18. 2b14u said:

    Sitting in a classroom reading this with tears!!!

    Like

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