Does Father Really Know Best?
I stood on the lawn of my parent’s home and watched my grandmother drive that big red Cadillac towards me. She was legally blind so I made a point to move farther away from the curb. Couldn’t figure out why she was driving and then I remembered that grandpa was next door. I walked over and knocked on the door. I didn’t recognize the person who answered but I could see grandpa sitting in a recliner.
He heard me asking for him and walked to the door. I looked at him and said, “Zayde, vos macht esteh?” That is Yiddish for “Grandpa, how are you? He wouldn’t have said that I was speaking Yiddish. He would have said that I was speaking “Jewish.”
The strange thing about it was that we rarely spoke in Yiddish and when we did it was in fragments. We spoke English. Anyway, he took my hand and we walked outside and grandma was standing in the driveway. Grandpa practically ran over to her. I watched him take her hand and they got lost in their world. And then I remembered that grandma was dead.
She died two years ago.
I stared at the two of them and they turned and smiled at me. I woke up a short time later and remembered the grandpa died last August, a week before my sister’s wedding. It took a few minutes for it to sink in, but when it did I smiled again. I just wish that I could have seen them dance one more time.
All of the grandparents are gone and each generation has moved up a notch. It is the natural progression of things and I am good with it. But there are moments where I look in the mirror and search for wisdom in the eyes that look back at me.
There is hope and there is joy in those eyes. But there is concern, fatigue and some uncertainty too. That man wonders about the contradiction he feels each day. It is the unwavering confidence that everything will work out because he’ll find a way and the fear that maybe his faith in his abilities is misplaced. I don’t trust people who say they never second guess themselves.
But I think about things and I remember what life was like when my dark haired beauty entered the world. My tiny dancer arrived two days after dad’s triple bypass. Since then I have stormed the gates of heaven and forced my way in. Been thrown down into the pits of hell and fought my way out of there and now neither side wants me.
I am good with that. There is far too much to do here and l have more than enough energy left to continue wreaking havoc for a spell longer.
Sunday morning comes and we head out to the soccer fields. The dark haired beauty has another game today. The other team is filled with girls who play a very rough and aggressive style. My daughter gets knocked down twice and I can see that she is getting frustrated.
The whistle blows and the girls run to the sidelines to grab a sip of water. “Abba, they are not playing fair!” I shake my head at her. “Don’t worry about whether life is fair. You need to play harder now. Defend yourself. If that means knocking another girl over than knock her over. Use your shoulders to create space. I can’t help you here, this is your time to figure it out.”
I hate seeing her get knocked about, but I have faith in her. I kiss her head, whisper “I love you” and send her back on the field. What she doesn’t know is that if I was out there I would have already run through a couple of players. The intent/goal isn’t to hurt anyone but to establish boundaries. If you play ball with me you’ll learn very quickly what I will tolerate and what I won’t.
But I am not playing, she is. She has to figure this part out. It is good for her and it will help build her self confidence. Her brother tugs on my arm and tells me that I gave good advice.
Was my dream merely my subconscious telling me that I am thinking about my grandparents. It is plausible. My grandfather’s birthday is this week. The kids asked a few questions about him the other day. Maybe I was thinking about him for long enough that they just popped back up.
Or maybe not. Maybe they really did come to visit, although I have to wonder why they looked like they did close to the ends of their lives and why they weren’t a bit younger.
They could have taken twenty years off and I still would have recognized them. Hell if I know. Dream or not it was nice to see them. It is too bad they aren’t here to see their great grandchildren because they would be so proud.
I don’t know if father knows best but I do know that I try my best and I guess that is all we can do.
Barbara March 13, 2012 at 1:15 am
Hi, Jack, your dark haired beauty has a great dad who knows best. Of course, dads know best. I wish my dad had lived to see me play soccer (actually I never did) but he died when I was 8 and I still think of him nearly every day.
And what a lovely dream of your grandparents, they live on in your children.
Lovely post, thanks!
Jack March 13, 2012 at 9:06 am
We do our best and hope it all works out. I am always surprised by how many people I know who lost a parent at a very young age.
It is a good reminder to continue to be thankful for all that we have.
I am very sorry for your loss.
Gina March 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm
Elbows and shoulders are things we all need to learn to establish our boundaries, that goes for the mental stuff too. Sports are great way for kids to learn some life lessons. My kids have taken away tons!
I love when important people visit me in my dreams. You actually feel connected for that time. Good for you that you got the visit.
Jack March 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm
The kids and I sometimes play rough. When they wrestle with me I am careful not to hurt them, but I don’t just let them win.
I figure if they can handle me they can handle some other kid. I suppose it is about building their self confidence.
And that dream was amazing. Can’t believe how real it was.
Lori Gosselin March 12, 2012 at 9:22 am
Jack that was an amazing visitation dream! (yep – I believe it was a visit of sorts!) I love this post and the way you bring up the topic with a story and then go to this; “each generation has moved up a notch” I get that you don’t feel qualified to BE that generation, that daddy-knows-best guy (though you did get affirmation from your son!) because I feel it too.
I have to say too that you are the Seeker of this blogging community. Never mind that you don’t know what to make of this new agey stuff, you’re still willing to “storm the gates of heaven and force my way in. Been thrown down into the pits of hell”
And you lead us with your willingness to not have all the answers and to ask the questions.
P.S. I’m Tweeting Melody to be sure she sees this!
Jack March 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm
Thank you. I am not old enough yet to be that middle generation. Can’t be old enough, heck I just graduated from high school.
Used to be able to say that and believe it, but not so much anymore. Days get longer and the months roll on by.
I really don’t know how to feel about the new age stuff. I have seen things that make me wonder. I have stories but at the same time I am a Taurus and we like having our feet on the ground.
But the joy of life is opening yourself up to possibilities. I am not always good at it, but I am trying.
Cathy March 12, 2012 at 8:23 am
Interesting timing of this post Jack. My grandfather passed away Friday and I thought of you. It is bittersweet. He had been mostly bed-ridden and suffering from Alzheimer’s. It was very hard on my grandmother. I choose to believe that your grandfather came to visit you. I believe in that stuff. And good advice to your daughter.
Jack March 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm
Very sorry for your loss. It is never easy.
I am certain that if my grandmother hadn’t died we’d still have my grandfather with us today. Her death broke his heart and eventually his spirit.
It really was a cool dream.
Harleena Singh March 12, 2012 at 5:53 am
Dad’s do know best Jack!
I agree with Hajra there, and speak of myself being my fathers daughter. I have always looked up in pride to what he’s taught me- directly or indirectly, and those are lessons I can never forget. Similarly, I think if you are trying your best with your kids, that is all that matters at the end of the day.
Perhaps they are small now and don’t really understand or acknowledge your efforts, but they will one day, and would be as proud of their dad as I am of mine 🙂
So, take heart and keep making your sincere efforts 🙂
Thanks for sharing 🙂
Jack March 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm
Well if things go the way I wish maybe I’ll get lucky and one day they will write something as nice about me as the post you wrote about your father.
That was truly special.
Bill Dorman March 12, 2012 at 4:35 am
I know your type you bull in a china shop; I would love to play some ball with you as we each try to establish our position down low. I always liked going up against the bigger guys and never giving any ground; it got testy at times, but good competitive fun. They don’t call me Billy defense for nothing……..
Yes, sometimes you want to ‘help’ your kids establish their position but just need to sit back and let them figure it out. I have fond memories of my kids on the soccer fields doing just that.
Good memories indeed of your grandparents; but yes, life does go on so enjoy the journey.
Jack March 12, 2012 at 3:32 pm
I am always up for a challenge. Just so you know, I might not stop talking the entire game.
I like pressing buttons. Some guys play better when they are irritated but most don’t.
Also, let me give you fair warning that when we are leaning on each other for position I will probably roll off of you and see if you fall.
I am nasty that way, but I will give you hand back up…after the play.
I love watching my kids play. It is so much fun and even though I sometimes wish they would stop growing up so quick it is still nice to see it.
Maybe one of these days we’ll make that game happen…
Hajra March 12, 2012 at 12:10 am
Ok, spoken by a true daddy’s daughter; yes, dad’s know everything. They are and always will be the best man of our lives and the only man who made it all matter! Daddies are superman in decent clothing.
Jack March 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm
As we say in the old country, “from your mouth to G-d’s ears.”
Barbara March 13, 2012 at 1:10 am
Ah, Hajra, I always thought there was something wrong with Superman’s clothing! LOL! 😉
Hajra March 13, 2012 at 1:16 am
He is just showing off how super he is! 😉 Men .. you see! 🙂