In 1995, Dad died. I still hear him encouraging me to till the ground, plant, grow, and harvest. I have no problem remembering him on Father’s Day.
A good man, not always easy to get along with, Dad taught me how to identify plants and hoe weeds out of potato fields. I couldn’t help but wonder why sometimes, the same plant could be a weed in a potato field and a flower in a garden.
Morning Glory competes for nutrients in a potato field but provides vibrant delight in a garden.
That knowledge, of course, can be observed and applied. Everyday.
Dad didn’t compete for nutrients during my childhood but provided nourishment. I was raised on a steady diet of healthy food, work, and the constant nudging to complete jobs that need to be done and to correct my mistakes.
When I follow through on the nudging, vibrant delight.
After I got married and had two children, we started fostering children. The first child that came to live with us, Junior, had his second birthday during his stay. Junior was afraid of men. Afraid of most everything; vacuum cleaner, Shep the dog, the farm four-wheeler.
The job that needed to be done was introducing Junior to confident courage. I stopped vacuuming the house, just kidding, but vacuumed when Junior was in the other room. I also asked Shep to lay down and wait for Junior to come and pet him. Shep obliged many times over.
As for men, one day, my backup babysitter backed out and I needed childcare. Mom volunteered. Super grateful, I took our girls and Junior to Mom and Dad’s house before going to my appointment.
A few hours later, I returned to Mom and Dad’s house. I walked into the mudroom and was quietly astounded to see Dad, squatting on the floor with a knee up. Junior was perched on his knee, looking at a tool Dad had. Dad carefully put Junior on the ground to stand. Junior stood tall and held Dad’s hand as they went off to fix, nothing. With Dad’s guidance, Junior plied that tool to the air or maybe an engine in his mind’s eye, with sheer delight.