A Father’s Guiding Love

18 Jun
I will forever love both of my parents equally and with all of my heart, but I am not ashamed to admit that when I was a little girl, I secretly wanted to marry my daddy. He was the perfect man—kind, loving, attentive, strong—my knight in shining armor with a moustache and a quirky sense of humor. Whenever he held my hand in his, he made me invincible.
As my hand grew incrementally bigger in his grasp, our arms seemed to stretch. My world became more expansive, my opinions more my own. The distance between us alternately widened and narrowed, like opposing banks of a winding, lazy river. Some days he was a little less my hero and a little more the guy with too many rules, placing too many restrictions on my freedom, clipping my wings and driving me crazy with advice that I didn’t want, didn’t need, and refused to listen to. 
I loved him. I hated him. I was embarrassed by him. I was amazed by him. I ignored him one second, and drove him nearly to insanity with relentless chatter the next. I wanted to be nothing like him and exactly like him all at once. As the years slipped by, I discovered he was flawed, wounded, imperfectly-human. And then I realized that I was as well. 
The only constant was his unconditional love for me. If I called for him, he was there—our opposite banks merging into one where the choppy waters could pool for a little while, warming in the sun, resting for a bit, gathering strength and direction before continuing its journey downstream toward the next uncertain bend in life.
When I grew up, I didn’t marry my daddy, but I came pretty close. My husband is kind, loving, attentive and strong—my handsome knight in camouflaged armor with a laugh that makes me smile. He is everything I dreamed of as a little girl, and infinitely more. The day that my dad died, my lazy river instantly transformed into a raging waterfall, pouring into a vast, lonely, shore-less ocean. My husband became my rock—that solid strength that held me up, preventing me from drowning as I floundered, desperately searching for that missing bank that I would never rest upon again. 
Because of my husband’s resolute strength, my waters calmed and I survived. Together we have formed our own sturdy riverbank, unified as we run alongside the banks of our two boys, charting the waters of life together. Like all the rivers that came before, sometimes our shores are close enough to hop across, but sometimes the embankments are rocky and steep, the distance between so wide it seems an impossible feat to cross from one to the other. They love us, they hate us. They want to be nothing like us when they grow up, but strive to be the best of who we are. 
Like my dad’s was for me, and his father’s still is for him, my husband’s love for our boys is unwavering. Whenever they call, he is there—comforting them, advising them, encouraging them, loving them—allowing the river of emotions of life to calm as they warm in the sun for a brief, glorious moment before he gently nudges them on downstream, guiding them toward their future.

One Response to “A Father’s Guiding Love”

  1. Gina Barlean June 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    Flawed hereos, are the best kind.

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