Monday, May 16, 2011

Letters to Dad: When I Was Young


When we were discussing memories of my childhood, I know that what you remember most when I was a kid my gymnastics. I was always cartwheeling, backbending, or forward walkovering down the hallway. I remember that, too. However, I also remember having really cold feet and curling up in your lap, sliding them under your legs, and settling in for warmth. I know that they were like ice blocks, but you never once complained. I felt very safe in that lap.

Do you remember that couch with that hidden leg in the middle? It was covered by the material swag (or whatever that is called of the couch). I constantly stubbed my toes on that thing, because I ran around without shoes. That experience was followed by me saying nasty things to the couch. Whenever you heard that, you would say something like, "You really shouldn't talk to the couch that way. It isn't the couch's fault." Ooooh. I would get so mad. Isn't the truth a terrible thing to have to deal with sometimes? Of course if wasn't the fault of the couch. However, that only left me being angry with myself and that didn't feel so good! I love how you took those little opportunities and used them for teaching moments. I have tried to do that with C-Man and H-Girl. It always amazes me when I saw the fruits of my efforts.

One of your great strengths was patience with people. I think back to how easily you dealt with Grandpa. He was such a difficult person. I think maybe you were used to dealing with difficult people. People who sucked all of the air out of the room. People who were used to being the sun and the rest of the people were planets who revolved around them.

I know that Nanny was likely one such person for you. By the time I knew her she had slowed down considerably, but I can imagine that in her day, she was the sun. In one of the last conversations that she and I had, in Athens, she told me that your dad was the only man she ever truly loved. I know that is tough to wrap your head around. It only goes to show how complicated love and people are. And it is a well-known fact to everyone, but you, that you were her favorite child. I tell you this for a couple of reasons. I am not sure that you really knew that your mother loved you. She did. So much so that she created a real problem with her daughter who was always trying to measure up. Families are so dysfunctional. And then your sister did the same thing with her kids. She favored her son over her daughter.

I know that you say that you and Nanny "made up," but I am not sure that you ever allowed yourself to fully love her because you felt betrayed by her. She did love you. So you can let that you go, before you go, if you haven't already. If you have, and you know that she loved you unconditionally, well this is just reinforcement.

I just heard something the other day that I will share with you. I have no doubt that I will get the opportunity to use it in my life since I heard it! If you are given the choice in a relationship to be right or be loved, it feels so much better to be loved. That isn't to say you shouldn't stand up for what is right. But you just don't have to be right all of the time. Sometimes that need to be right pushes people away. I tell you this so that you know that I am still growing. Still learning. And I know that I am not right all of the time. I just want people to feel loved. I love you dad. I will miss your wisdom.

But, most of all I will miss the man who would let me climb in his lap and warm my cold feet. You don't get many of those.


image found at


  1. Robin, thank you so much for sharing your letters to your father with us. This is so beautiful.

  2. *huggles*

    No comments, dear... just extending a hug to you...


  3. Robin: Families are dysfunctional. When my day comes, I don't want my children to be sad. They can cry, because I don't want them to bottle their hurt inside, but I don't want my children to be sad. Death is a part of life, and I want them to know that I must die, so they can live. That's the way it works. I don't want my children to be sad - because I love them. It's a father thing.

  4. I don't know if you cried while writing this, but I sobbed while reading it. So beautiful. So loving. Just the right thing.

  5. @JJ That is what my dad keeps saying. I keep telling him that eventually the sadness will ease. I am not entirely sure it will ever pass. But I can understand a parent wanting that.

    @Empty Nester ~ I cried the whole time.

    @ Everyone else. Thanks for your support. Truly.

  6. I saw your post earlier in the day but I couldn't bring myself to read it. I knew it was going to make me cry. But surprisingly, it didn't. Instead it gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling. You are very lucky to have those memories of your daddy. Thank you for sharing them.

  7. Your dad is clearly a good, kind, patient, wise man ....

  8. Rob... I so wish I could give you a big hug right now, but a virtual one will just have to do. ((((Hugs)))) Wishing you peace and comfort,

    ~Mrs B


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