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My Father, The Gift Of Love

My father softened, when did this happen? Why did this happen?  Was it my Dad who softened, or was it I?  In the scheme of life, does it matter, who when or why?  The important element is that it has happened.  My father and I have found one another.  It is perhaps the greatest joy since “birthin’ my babies.”

    From the time I was a child, I always hoped that my father would notice me, to give me credit for being me.  He shudders when I tell him, "Dad, we're so much alike".... yet we are.  I have his strength, his character and his game face!  Often times we appear to be tough cookies simply because we must keep up a front for those we Love, as well as for ourselves.  If we crumble, what will happen to them?  So we walk through life believing we are in control of our emotions; believing that one way or the other we will make everything work out for those we Love.

 It isn’t easy coming home at any age, no less, after a failed marriage, failed business; children who were sorely disappointed that their parents were no longer together.  What choice did I have, other than to live on the streets of Dallas? I was moving home with my parents.

    What choice did my parents have? After all of their years of hard work and effort raising and supporting children to have their child come home as a failure.  This must have been very difficult for them. How would they explain me to their friends?  The stock market was falling, their retirement money was at jeopardy and their daughter was home, with nothing.  

 Life was on edge for the first couple of months I was home.  We were all walking on eggshells.  The three of us were doing the best we could to make the most of a difficult situation.  Days were spent seeking employment; evenings were spent working on Hearts With Soul.  

    As I see it, our first momentous moment was in March after Mom and Dad returned from a ski trip in Santa Fe.  My heart was warmed as I watched as Mom helped guide Dad in the RV back into its parking spot.  Mom and I then unpacked the RV while Dad took care of its maintenance.  Dad called me over to my car, “Teri, your tire is low, let me show you how to put air in it.”  The dialog between my father and I opened as he taught me how to check my oil, water and tire air pressure.  Dad shared his concerns for me and my future as he taught me the basic mechanics of car care. This began a new pattern of shared time and effort, a new beginning in our communication with each other. He was able to teach and I was able to appreciate and learn from him.

One month later I left for a road trip to Mexico.  Knowing my parents as I do, their work ethic, their commitment to responsibility, I knew this was not a trip that would meet their approval, yet, neither said anything about my choice. A week later, I returned to an empty house. I began working on Hearts With Soul and several hours later I heard my father’s voice, “Teri?”

    I walked out of my office into the hallway to be greeted by my father’s open arms.   

    “Welcome home, we missed you.”

My Dad and I stood in a warm and Loving embrace.  My father missed me, and was open to the opportunity to tell me so.  My father held me in his strong and Loving arms; he was happy that I was home.  Later that evening he strongly suggested that I look into the schools in Tyler.  Education was my background and I had always been very successful.  I took his advice and the next morning I was on the telephone with an interview the following afternoon.  I was finally employed, I would write curriculum for a private preschool.

    Three months after I began working I had come to the decision I could no longer continue with Hearts With Soul and hold a full time position.  My work ethics, learned from my father, had me giving more time to my job than was expected. Along with Hearts With Soul it was simply too much!

    One Thursday morning before my mother was up I walked into the computer room to speak to my father.  Taking a deep breath, generating the courage I needed to say this without crying, I approached the computer room door.

    "Dad, I am giving up Hearts With Soul. I can't do both."

    With Love in his warm, blue eyes my father wrapped his strong arms around me.  “Teri, I am so proud of you.  You’ve made a difference for many people and you’ve given more than most could have or would have given.”  

    My father looked me in the eyes and pulled me back into him, “I am too old to cry sweetie.”  

    He knew giving up my dream was a difficult decision for me.  I believe my choice hurt my father as much, and perhaps more, than it hurt me. Yet, we both gained a new element to our relationship, a new level of Love, trust and understanding.

    There are many special moments that Dad and I have shared over the past year and a half, one just as special and unique as the other.  Slowly, cautiously Dad and I have come to know each other.  Dad and I have certainly gained a new appreciate and Love for each other.  We’ve had many tender moments trying as best we could to bridge a gap that I believe we have both yearned to close.

 Thank you for Loving me, teaching me to be fair, honest, and to change the oil in my car!!


~ © Teri Wilber

Used with author's permission
Teri writes a wonderful site, please
find time to visit  
Hearts With Soul An Inspirational Site Celebrating ManKind