Today, I miss my dad.
I think it’s the crisp morning weather reminding me of him. He was a man for all seasons, but I remember him most in the fall. Oh, he was a summer guy, too. A good lawn mower and a builder of things, he thrived in the summer. He loved working around the house and in the yard. He kept everything looking nice.
But he knew how to relax, too. I still remember the day I was at the lake with him and our family. Not a good swimmer, there was simply too much water all around me. It made me nervous.
“Can you drain some of this water, Daddy?” I guess I thought the lake was like the bathtub. I expected him to dive down and pull the plug. I believed that he could do about anything.
Dad laughed. It was the kind of erupting laugh that comes out of nowhere and is impossible to restrain. It doesn’t ridicule, but is confident in its assurance. On this particular day his laugh was saying, “Don’t worry, little girl, I’ve got you.”
And he did. I was safe on top of his shoulders. Although the water slapped at me, it didn’t overtake me. I was able to relax and enjoy the view from up high. I was taller than my dad for just a little while. Only one of two times in my life that was ever true.
On other summer afternoons, I loved telling him about my favorite bugs. He listened patiently as I described a new grasshopper I found in the backyard. I told him all about the hopper’s life, Henry and his family. Their hopes and dreams. Their hobbies. Their musical abilities, which were very noteworthy and admirable.
Dad simply smiled, whistling a song with perfect pitch even though he never sang a tune. Nodding his head once in a while, he was probably lost in his own thoughts, politely tuning me out. But he never made me feel like I was a pest or in the way. He always had time for me.
As the days of summer are beginning to curl into cooler mornings, I think of Dad. And today I miss him. He was a good dad who always put his family first.
It was in the fall that I saw my dad cry for the first time. A family tragedy brought us all to our knees, but seeing him cry made the floor beneath me wobble. Believe it or not, I didn’t know that men cried. They didn’t do it on TV and they didn’t do it on our family. At least not in front of me. During this emotional earthquake, I struggled to find something or someone to hold onto. That’s when I reached out to my other dad. My Heavenly Father. And He reached out to me, helping me through a hard time.
I was still a little girl back then, but I learned a valuable truth. Life can be challenging. Everything around us can change. But the Lord does not change. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).
It was also in the fall when my dad was dying. The only other time I was taller than him was when I sat at his bedside as he slowly slipped away. I called out to my Heavenly Father asking for a miracle. It would be so easy for him. Like placing the plug back into a draining bath tub. But it was not His will to perform that miracle on earth, but instead to heal my dad in Heaven.
So I miss my dad today on this fall-like day as I read about hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, Amber alerts and so much more. As the ground trembles beneath my feet and our world becomes less recognizable, I remember that Scripture verse from Matthew 28:20. “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Maybe the true miracle is that I’ve had two great dads in my life. And someday, I will be with them both.