TAP 46/70-The man my father raised me to be

What you want and what you get are two things entirely different. It is what you do, with what you have that makes the difference. This applies to all areas, facets and situations in life.

Growing up as one of four brothers, I am sure my dad was disappointed that he did not have a son. Despite what we like to tell ourselves, there is a difference between boys and girls, their physical capabilities, their thought processes, their attitudes and more. No matter how some want to pare down the sexes to say we are equal in all ways, it is certainly a factual lie that sadly many believe. But this story is not about our sexes and equality, it is more about humanity and necessity, farm life and finding a bond where you can.

It seems to me that my dad has always had a soft spot of sorts for me. Maybe because we are a lot a like, maybe because we would gang up at times on my mother. Perhaps it is simply because I am his child. I even contemplate that maybe none of this is true, too. I think he is just a kind person, truly. Despite all of the shit things he has ever done in his life, I see his kindness, that and other attributes are what I choose to see, and focus on.

I have had many issues with my husband over the course of our years together, and the one thing I recently admitted to him was that I realize my dad raised me to be a better man than most.

A man must have a sense of honor. In some way shape or form. Whether that is being as good as your word, or a handshake, or carrying out what you committed to do, your honor as a man says more about you than most other things. People know they can trust and depend on you, if you have honor.

Despite the times my dad was totally not dependable, he is a very dependable man. He carries out what he says he will do, what he is responsible for, those he is responsible for. My father is very protective of those whom he cares for. Though that seems elusive at the moment to think about who those people are, it was definitely my grandma, it is his community and friends, his family, his cows. He takes his responsibility to others very seriously, and that goes back to being honorable too.

Responsible and dependable are two different words to describe my dad. He is dependable, in his responsibilities, and responsible in his dependability. I am sure some of his friends would die from laughter reading that I think I he is responsible. He has some very interesting stories that speak of how irresponsible his youth may have been. Oddly enough, he was still always responsible, he might have just balanced that out with (too much)fun.

He is a humorous person, seems to be able to laugh at his own mistakes and those of others. If no one died, and we survived, it can become laughable. This not only relieves the stress of the moment, but alters how we see the danger we escaped. I read a conversation between my dad and cousin on Facebook recently. They had a good laugh about a tractor incident with her driving, and him running to go catch said tractor after she jumped off, being unable to stop it. Needless to say, I was glad to see they found humor in that incident!

My dad is always willing to get creative and find solutions to problems. He will think outside the box, and see things from differing angles. If all else fails, he will create a solution from simplistic ways and ideas. He truly is a proponent of K.I.S.S.-Keep It Simple Stupid. I mean, I have seen him over complicate things, but as a general, he take simplistic measures to make things work.

He has a lot of love to give. When I was growing up, he would make the effort to hug me and tell me he loved me daily, or every day we saw each other if our schedules did not allow. As an adult, this is huge to me. This was the very first thing I ever said I would do as a parent. I think this is a key to raising children, and is probably the foundation of my relationship with my father.

I told you a lot of great things about my dad, and I told you how I am sure he wished he had a boy. I say that because I am sure he wished he had someone to carry on the family name, to have been a bigger part of the family farm, and to have been able to pass on his knowledge of cars to. I did not tell you what I learned, other than certain ways in which to be a man. I also learned how to use tools, to use my brain, to be effortless in trying, knowing I may fail but trying again and again until I get it. I learned how to sell things to make money to provide for myself and my family. I learned that I must be a warrior to protect and help those in my care, my shoulders are strong enough to carry so much. I learned that it is better to have a good attitude in the face of adversity or an obstacle, and laughing would be best. I learned that fear is the enemy, it can and will rob you of so much, so mustn’t allow it. I learned that not every man is a man, and only some women can be better than a man, but I don’t have to lose my parts for that. I am whole, as I am.

I have climbed the hay mows, crushed my thumb with a hammer. I have sworn as a sailor and got mad about nothing worth being mad about. I have corrected my children harshly at times, so they may do, and be better than me. I have taught my husband things his father did not. I try to do the responsible thing, to be dependable, to do it all with humor and honor. I try to be kind, even when I am feeling I should not. We’ll sing’em to us, you and me, dad. Our whispers are heard by many.

I have been fortunate to grow up and see all the positives my dad has taught me, but I am more fortunate to have had a man in my life that showed me things he would have shown his son too. Thank you for teaching me how to be a good man dad, my kids and I appreciate that greatly.

For as you are, I am.

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