On Mother's Day I didn't blog about what it's like to be a mother, because I blog about that all the time. So I blogged about the mothers who have influenced my life. Here we are at Father's day and I ponder whether to blog about Jeff as a Father, or my own father.
Jeff *claims* not to read this blog, but some of his friends do. Our mutual friends do, and various members of our families do. Just after Jack was born I wrote a letter to Jeff and posted it here, which was about him being a husband and father. Because so many of our friends and family know him well and read this blog, I think I will spare him this time around...wouldn't want to ruin his image and all that...right Kyle?! ;)
Which leaves my own father. I am almost positive he doesn't read this blog, as the majority of traffic to it comes through Facebook, a social networking site he is not a part of. The people that do know him, and read this blog, won't (or shouldn't) be surprised by anything I would write. And really, it's Father's day, it's my blog and he's my father right?
As I mentioned on Mother's Day, my parents were quite young when I was born, my dad was just 18. He has never denied that becoming a father at age 18 was not part of his master plan...far from it in fact. But, I was on the way, and he and my mom got married and got their own place. They "dealt with it".
My Dad grew up on a farm, which I have also referenced before, with both of his parents and his 5 siblings. He is the second youngest. Up until 1982 his paternal Grandma Margaret lived there as well, and she was one of, if not the most, influential person in his life. From all the stories I have heard, if I was able to meet one deceased relative, I think it would be her. I think we would have gotten along very well.
Growing up, I was known as "Ken Noble's Daughter". You didn't mess with Ken Noble's daughter. You didn't hurt her, you didn't treat her poorly, in fact, if you were male, it was best if you didn't even look at her, or else you'd risk the wrath of Ken Noble. But also, as Ken Noble's daughter, I didn't get away with anything, because it seemed he had eyes and ears all over Howick Township. More than once I was in trouble before I ever even got home. He was tough, he was strict and he was fiercely protective. He had a reputation, no question. But he could also be a huge tease. To us, and especially to my friends that came to visit or sleepover. He could be completely embarrasing, and knew it. He relished every minute of it. One of his favourite things was to talk to us about "the molecules". Whenever we talked or complained about something being too hot (for instance our food), my dad would launch into this huge "speel" about how that was because of the "rapid movement of molecules...". We would roll our eyes and tell him we knew. He took most pleasure in explaining that process to our friends when they were over, and as soon as he would start we would yell at him to stop. Now, whenever Makenna complains about something being too hot, I hear my dad's speech in my head and it is on the tip of my tongue. Every time. I have heard both my husband and my brother give this speech too.
When I was quite young, I was "Daddy's Girl". The apple of his eye. I remember that he liked to brush my hair. He would always say "When you are 16 and have long shiny hair you will thank me for brushing it every day". My hair grew at a snail's pace and never went much past my shoulders, and I chopped it off a few times as I grew older. He always hated when I did that.
One of his great loves has always been baseball. Around home in years gone by, if there was a baseball team, he was either on it, coaching it, or coordinating its tournament. He coached me when I was very little, he coached Mike for a number of years, and he has played for as long as I can remember; Everything from hardball to slowpitch. When I was a teenager he and I played together on the same Co-ed team. Whether he was a player, a coach or a spectator, when we were young he was there, encouraging, pushing, yelling and jumping all over the field - like coaches do. We can't talk about my dad and baseball without using the word competitive. My dad is an 'alpha male" and sports really bring out his competetive side. If you have ever seen Mike or I play baseball, especially in tournaments, you can look no further than our father when wondering who to blame for our competitive behaviour. Funny enough, he's never been one to watch baseball on TV.
Growing up, my dad worked. A lot. Like all the time. He has been a welder in one capacity or another, almost his entire working life. He owned his own business manufacturing straight line utility trailers just outside of Gorrie for many many years. Sometimes this meant we didn't see him very often. Some would say he was a workaholic. He would say he was determined. dedicated. Committed. Others might say he was stubborn. I would agree with all of that, and I would also say he was driven. I didn't always know what he was driven by, or why, but...he was driven.
I have made it no secret that my parents are not together. They separated when I was very young, got back together and then separated again when I was 19. They are now divorced. And I am not broken by that, I am not "affected" by that. I did not come from a broken home, and I don't believe what happened between them had any negative effects on who I am today. It wasn't tragic and it didn't ruin my life. I believe it made me resilient, that it made me a realist, that it made me realize how important, special and even rare, real love is. At each stage, my parents did what they felt was best at the time. Mistakes were made, feelings and hearts were hurt...but we're all still standing and we all came out the other side.
And I'll tell you why I think that is. Because through it all, over all the years, my parents were committed to us. To parenting us together, commited to not badmouthing the other infront of us, to not showing how they really felt about the other parent, to not arguing infront of us or on the phone to someone else where we could hear. To respecting our feelings (good or bad) about the other parent and keeping thier own feelings to themselves. Whatever was going on between the two of them, they were our parents first. We had one mother, and one father, and they dealt with us together.
When I left for University, I was angry with my dad. And I stayed angry for awhile. Not a day or to - a year or two. But he respected that. He allowed that. He continued to call me, to support me, to believe in me, while I was behaving towards him in the way that I was. He knew me, and he knew that eventually I would get past my anger, and come around. He respected my feelings, allowed me to have them, and didn't try to tell me they were wrong or that I needed to "get over it". He waited. And eventually I did come around. And he was there.
My relationship with my father now that I am an adult is completely different then when I was a child. As I grew older and became a teenager my dad took on a dual role. In a way he was still that "tough guy, no one better mess with my daughter or you'll answer to me and everyone knew it" kind of dad, and in another way, he was working very hard to be someone I could talk to, confide in, and go to when I was in trouble. My dad's eyes were wide open about what all can and does happen in the teen years, and more than anything else, he wanted me to feel safe coming to him, about ANYTHING. He always said I could never shock him, never scare him, because between him and his five siblings, he had either seen or done it all before. He was always very clear that he would always rather hear it from me, or have me ask him, so i that I would get real information, instead of being told what someone thought I wanted to hear, or having someone skewing information to benefit them. He wasn't one to sugar coat. He wasn't one to shy way from uncomforthable conversations. He asked difficult questions and wanted honest answers. About alcohol. About boys. About teenage experimentation. About birth control. About friends. He wanted to know the truth...not to punish or to preach, but just so he knew. So that he could try to teach me what was real and what was not, what to expect, and most importantly, how to react, and how to get myself out of trouble, should I find myself in some. He always worked very hard to keep the lines of communication as wide open as they could be. He always insisted that I could call him, at any time of day or night, and he would come get me, no matter what. I did, and he did. And he didn't yell at me, didn't freak out at me, didn't punish me...he talked to me and treated me like a person, like an adult, like a human being.
Now, that's not to say I DID tell him everything. I didn't. And there were times he did preach, and I was punished. Many times. There were huge, dramatic, teen girl arguments, But with my dad, when I was a teenager, what I remember now, years later, is that he took the time to explain his point of view and his reasons. And overall, he trusted me. When I look back now at the things I was allowed to do, I think of my five year old daughter and feel like there is no way she will be going to prom parties in grade nine. Dating boys four years older than her. Going camping with a group of friends an hour away.
And I guess that's why he worked so hard to be real and honest with me. To keep those lines of communication open. To treat me like a person whose thoughts and opinions mattered. For the most part. So that I wouldn't sneak out or around. Wouldn't do things behind their backs and then be too afraid to call if I did get into trouble.
It also helped that he had eyes and ears all over the damned place. He was good friends with one of the Wingham policemen, he knew all of the Wingham firemen...he had business contacts all over town.
In our small town there were a lot of kids around the same age and for the most part, we were all friends. My dad knew most of them already, and really encouraged my friendships with a couple of the older boys. Not because he wanted me to date them, because he wanted them to look out for me in highschool. They knew my dad well and he talked with them different times, about me being in highschool. He wanted me to have a couple of older guys who knew me and my family, knew where I lived, who thought of me like a little sister, and if I wasn't comfortable calling home, or ran into trouble at a dance or party, I could go to those guys and be safe. He didn't tell me to stay away from them, or that they were too old for me, he encouraged those friendships. And those two guys, both of them, were very protective of me in highschool and did save me a couple times.
After all, they had Ken Noble to answer to.
My dad has always said that he knew early on that Jeff was the one for me because of the way Jeff could make me smile. He said he never saw me look like that with anyone else, and that Jeff was special. He has always had a good relationship with Jeff, even from the early days when Jeff was a... "typical" young man.
I went to my dad's for breakfast the morning of my wedding, to spend a few minutes of quiet time with him before the day got crazy. He made me my favourite, "french toast" and I will never forget him, the big strong alpha male, being unable to open the cinnamon jar because his hands were shaking too much. He was nervous. I had already gotten my hair done and it was all up with a little tiara in it. When I walked into the old farm house looking like that, images of skinned knees and grass stains, crocodile tears and runny noses, chasing chickens and swinging on ropes attached to the barn roof , were confronted by what was standing infront of him - Daddy's girl was all grown up and about to get married. She was about to have a last name different than his. After 23 years, it was all aboutto change. There in that kitchen he gave me a Collector's plate that had a little girl with a blond ponytail on it, in a dress playing with ribbons and dress up shoes and on the back he had engraved, "This is how I see you today...Love Dad". When it was our turn to walk down the aisle, he leaned in to give me a mini speech about how proud he was of me and how much he loved me. I had to tell him to stop, because I didn't want to be a blubbering mess as I walked down the aisle. (Those of you who were there will remember that it wouldn't have mattered, as Jeff was a blubbering mess anyway, and so was every single member of our wedding party including the men, and a large number of our family and friends!)
When I was a little girl, in my eyes my dad was all he was supposed to be. He was THAT DAD. A Hero. A Pillar. Strong. Allknowing. Invincible and Unbreakable. Protective and Tough. One whose approval was pretty important. But I also knew that he could be a tease, sentimental, and softhearted when he wanted to be.
There is more I could write, more I could say to lead up to who he is now, 7 years after my wedding day. But I have decided to stop here.
Today I wanted to focus on the times when he was my Daddy and I was his little girl. Because that is what today is about.
the best unicorn bark
6 hours ago