Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Father's Day

I know my dad doesn't like this show, Modern Family, but the dad reminds me of him, like Archie Bunker from years ago.

I used to think Archie Bunker was a terrible dad, until I realized that he loved his family by working hard all his life and wanting the best for his little girl.  When his wife died on the show, I saw a humanity in him I had not seen before, and I sobbed, feeling his pain.

On Modern Family, I cry at the end of almost each episode.  Not because it is sad; sometimes it is hilariously funny.  But at the end the characters reflect on family and its simple truths.

At first I didn't like the dad on this show either.  Until I got to know him and realize his humanity.  This quote sums it up for me.

I think raising daughters was always a puzzling experience for my dad, especially when we were in the throes of puberty.  And I found him puzzling at times. 

But now I see my dad in his humanity.  The older he gets, the more real he is to me, and the more I learn about him.

I realize he is human, like Archie, like the Modern Family dad.  They are just trying to be the dad their children need.  We don't come with instruction booklets.  Not only that, we constantly challenge his authority.  We think he is an old fuddy duddy who lives in the dark ages.

Then, I saw someone who set the rules and could scare me by just looking at me with his Norwegian blue eyes.  But now, I see someone I love, and whom I know loves me.

What changed?  My dad?  No, I did.  I realized he has fears, insecurities, and doubts, like I do.  I realize he is so incredibly intelligent, he is compassionate, he is sensitive. 

I love my dad so much that as I write this I feel  sob in my throat. It is hard to watch him get older.  It is hard to watch his lilting gait and his forgetting things. 

But I am so thankful for him.  I am so much like him.  Which used to be a troubling thing.  But now I can say that with pride.  I am a Hetland.  We are smart, we love animals, we are patriotic, we are creative. 

He taught me so much.  Like how not to spend money I don't have.  Like how to take care of my car.  He taught me to respect my elders, to love my country. 

This is what fathers do.  They teach us, they provide for us.  They try to protect us from all harm, even though they can't. They hope for the best.

My dad showed up, and I am so thankful that he did.