My Father’s Day story that may make you cry

Jun 21, 2015

Black and white before it was cool to be black and white!

Black and white before it was cool to be black and white!

As some of you who follow my blog might know, I tend to go back to Vermont most summers. To wind down, reboot and recharge.

But it also a chance for me to spend much needed time with my family. Last time I was there, my Dad and I were talking about regrets and my Dad said “I wish I had spent more time with you when you were growing up.”.

I crinkled my forehead and said  “what? Dad – you were always around! ” .

I grew up on a small farm in very rural Vermont. And in my memory of my time there, my Dad seemed to always be there…on a tractor waving as he went by the kitchen window (the suspension on the tractor was a bit suspect so he sometimes looked like he was bobbing by the window), getting us to help out with the harvest when time pressed down on mother nature, making sure we took time to be involved with our garden – usually after dinner when it was cool enough to weed without the sun beating down on our backs.

However, my most abiding memory is of my Dad throwing softball with me after dinner.

I played softball for years – starting when I was probably about 7 – playing on a boys team at first as there weren’t enough girls for a separate team (I blame the early introduction to this exclusively male environment for my ability to swear like a trooper).

And I guess as a way to help me get as much of a leg up as possible, my Dad started to take me out after dinner for a couple of ball tosses, in our back yard alongside our beautiful wooden barn. In the Spring months, when my accuracy wasn’t very good as my muscles weren’t as developed, the barn lost a few windows.  They were always magically replaced and the tosses continued. As the years went by, I got stronger and (thankfully for the windows) my aim became laser sharp.

When I moved up to the high school, there was a proper program for the women’s league so I moved on to play with the women. It was tough at times –  we had a coach who taught me that hard work (and no bullshit) was the only way to ensure success. But my Dad and I continued on with our “want to go for a toss?” most evenings as it was a great way to wind down.

Graduation came at the end of my final softball season and then the usual fanfares of youth. At graduation, I was both surprised and touched to have been awarded the female athlete of the year. When I was presented with the award – the coach (the same one who busted my ass on the field every night and had me stay behind so he could fire rockets at me to catch) presented me with the award and said

You weren’t the best athlete but you were the most tenacious”.

I’ll take that.

I like to think that I am still tenacious today. And I put that tenacity down to all those after dinner sessions with my Dad.

So when I asked my Dad about regrets and said he wished he had been there more for us kids, I told him this story. I hope he understood that what he wanted was already there  –  no regrets required. He was (and still is) there for me and there is no need to feel the need to rewrite history.

And that I know right now, as he reads this, tears are starting to form around his soft blue eyes because he hopefully, knows it is true.

Happy Father’s Day everyone!