By Doris Schroeder
They say it’s important to give your child or spouse at least seven hugs a day and tell them you love them, in order for them to feel secure. Remembering the days of my father, I can’t for the life of me remember him ever telling me he loved me or actually giving me a hug. Yet somehow I knew he cared about me because I have the memories to prove it.
I was only three and a half and had just witnessed the accidental shooting of my six year old sister a few days before. Dad and I went to the funeral home, and he held me while we looked down into the box where my sister was, in my estimation, sleeping. I was sad but I still felt safe, Dad would always be there.
There was the adventure I had when I was four and decided to leave home to find the ice cream store. I had walked about six blocks, going to town on Main Street, when my Dad came chugging up in our Model A. Neither of us said a word as he stopped by the curb and opened the door. I got in quietly and knew I had hurt him and vowed I would never run away again, not even for ice cream!
When I was four and a half, I found a shiny new red tricycle in the dining room. Dad had told me I needed to save all my pennies before I could get one and I knew for certain I hadn’t yet saved enough.
I saw the determination on my Dad’s face when we moved back from California in a winter blizzard on bald tires. This was due to the war and tire rationing. Our family had to spend our last night on the road in a little motel in Oklahoma while Dad patched our only tires so we could make it the rest of the way. After he came back in that Christmas Eve night, we had a cozy family celebration and I felt so safe.
Living on the farm, Dad would take me with him when he went to look at cattle to buy or an auction. It was also my job to help him with the chores late at night since he worked in town during the day. I would hold the lantern while he slopped the hogs and milked the cows.
I seldom heard words of praise but sometimes I heard him brag about me to other people when he didn’t know I was around, and I felt cared for.
I became interested in singing at the little country school. When my Dad knew that, our family would sing the old hymns every night, even though Dad’s voice was a little off key.
Once in awhile, when I attended high school in a nearby town, Dad would take the day off and he and Mom would come hear me at the music contest in Wichita or somewhere else. I knew it was costly for him to do, and money was scarce, but he wanted to back me.
When I was happy, Dad was happy. When I married my husband and our children came along, a boy and a girl, Dad was delighted. He bought them each a new bike when they were only four since he hadn’t received one when he was young.
It was always such a joy to stop by my parents’ house when I had a few minutes. He was always interested in what was going on with our family. He and Mom were always delighted when we left the kids with them.
The night before he died, Mom had us all over for supper and he sat in the lounge chair, falling asleep ever so often, but smiling whenever he was awake and we could see he was enjoying himself.
He died at the early age of seventy four. I wish I had given him more hugs and told him I loved him but I’m positive he knew it…Just as I knew he loved me.
I thank God for giving me parents that loved Him and loved their family. How important that we are there for the people we love!
Doris welcomes your remarks and can be reached at email@example.com