Sweet and syrupy

I’ve just seen another of those saccharine posts on facebook that seem to have become the norm lately. A man is asked by his wife to take another woman out on a date. Turns out that woman is his mother, a widow. He admits not having spent much time with her recently and they spend an enjoyable evening together. She promises to go out with him again if he will allow her to pay for the meal. He agrees. Soon after, his mother dies unexpectedly. Some time later, he finds an envelope with a receipt for a pre-paid meal for two and a note from his mother telling him how much she enjoyed their time together.

Like most people, I immediately thought of my own loved ones. We are all touched by articles such as this, but I wonder how many of us act on what we’ve read. How many of us finish the article and pick up the phone to a paret, sibling, or child we haven’t spoken to in a while? Or do we make a “mental note” to be in contact more and then forget our intentions with the next post.

So much of our lives are lived online now that we need to guard against “Good Intention Syndrome”. We think about calling or writing to someone in a brief, fleeting moment, and then because we have thought about it, it’s as if it is done, and the mind moves on to other things.

I’m going to phone my dad now. He doesn’t have Facebook, so he doesn’t see my posts and my photos. If i don’t phone him, he’ll never know how much he’s on my mind. If I don’t tell him, he won’t know how much I love and respect him.

Who are you going to phone? Do it now!

Letter to my Dad

It’s my father’s 79th birthday today, and I think it will probably be one of the hardest for him. He has a lot to be thankful for, but after being an active, busy, independent person all his life, a serious motorbike accident (through no fault of his own) has forced him to face the frustration of being dependant on others and unable (for now, we hope) to dabble in his favourite hobbies of gardening and woodworking, not to mention not being able to ride a motorbike again. Life is so unfair sometimes! And I’m too far away to give him the hugs I would if I were there. So this is my hug – a letter to my Dad.

Dearest Dad,  Today, on your special day, I want to celebrate your life and what you mean to me. I’m the person I am today, in great measure because of your loving discipline when I was a child and your loving support in my adulthood. There are moments I remember. Do you remember plaiting my hair when we went camping and mommy had to stay at home? I remember your loving kiss when you gave me away on the day of my wedding. At the time, our relationship may not have been the best, but your love was always there.

But most of all, I remember the example you’ve always set. You must be the most unprejudiced person I know. You and Mom accepted all kinds of people into your lives, seldom judging them for who or what they were. I’m striving to be the same. And you’re scrupulously honest – you would never break the law. Not even in any of the small ways most of us break the law daily. I’m not sure I can live up to your example, but I’m trying.

You taught me that happiness doesn’t come from what life sends us, but from within, and a degree of acceptance of adversity. As you face your adversity with dignity and learn to lean on all of us, I’m learning from your example, even today.

You taught me to be honest, to be kind, to treat others as I would want them to treat me, and to speak up for what is right. I’m still following your example.

Happy Birthday Dad. I pray that this coming year will bring you not only healing and strength, but also acceptance – particularly as you lean on family and friends more.

I love you, Margie