For my fathers funeral this Saturday we are allowed to say or write about an event in rememberance of him. My sister has thought of some really fun events in our life, but for the first time ever, the writer is mute. No Word and Peace, Draakje Dailey. In fact, I can’t think of a single remarkable event and I can’t figure out why. I reckon it’s likened to those times you think of something witty to say, after a person has walked away from you. But in the middle of the night, I did decide what I would write for the Reverend to read. And it’s right there in the title, I am going to write about his not being there. That is the greatest lesson my father taught me.
You see, my father was a pediatrician. On Christmas mornings me, my sisters and my bother (yes, meant to spell it that way), weren’t allowed to peek to see if Santa had stopped by until my father was standing next to the tree taking pictures. Seems a practical matter, doesn’t it? But most Christmas mornings my father was at the hospital, so we would sit anxiously on the bottom step, waiting for my father to return home. Most children don’t really have a sense of real world focus, we tend to think about the world’s reflection of us, not about how we are seen in the world, or in other words, we oft believe the world revolves around our needs, not taking into consideration others. One Christmas, I think I was about six or so, it was an extra long wait stretching almost into the afternoon. Being selfish, and petulant at that age, I asked my mom why dad always had to go to the hospital on Christmas day. Hugging me close, she told me “Because sickness doesn’t take a holiday. And some children don’t get to wait on the bottom step of their home to see if Santa visited them.” I think I aged to adulthood that day, or at least got pretty close to it because I never looked at Christmas the same again.
The take from? Sometimes the best gift a parent can give a child is to not be there. It not only makes the parent a human, it teaches the child, though you love them dearly, no one can possibly be there for them every time they are needed. As for my dad? I can’t help but think he is in heaven surrounded with some of the children he has seen over the years. Some probably made it home for Christmas, perhaps some did not and as they laugh and celebrate this holiday, I hope he will look down fondly at me. as I sit patiently on the bottom step waiting for when I will see him again.