Saturday, June 16, 2012

FATHER'S DAY


This is a picture of my dad when he was very young. Charles Lester Clements. See that gleam in his right eye? I think that’s me. I chose this picture of my dad for this special Father’s Day post because I think, as we grow older, we tend to forget that our parents were once young. We grow up and our parents age as we do. We don’t see the people they were, before we were. 

My dad served in the navy before he was my dad. Look at this picture. Uniform bare of any decoration. He had dimples. I never noticed that before. I wonder if my mom thought they were cute. I’ll never know. Can you see the possibilities and expectations on my dad’s face? He had dreams, and hopes, and visions for his futures, just like we do. He  traveled to exotic  places, did jobs I’ll never comprehend, courted my mother, dealt with my grandmother, I say dealt because the wedding pictures I’ve seen…grandma looks like she’s attending a funeral more than a wedding. Not a lot of joy on her face.  Maybe she knew something these soon-to-be newlyweds didn’t?
 
I’ll be honest here and say that there were some years, when I was a teenager, then a young wife and mother, that I wasn’t as close to my father as I would have liked. He made some choices that took him out of our lives for a while. He tried to make up for those mistakes, to some degree, in his later years, so we won’t debate the wisdom of those choices here. 

I’ve tried to count the times I saw him between my 12th birthday and his death, three years ago. I came up with fifteen. Fifteen visits in forty-two years. I never stopped to count before today. Counting made me sad.  This is a shot from 2006, I only saw him one more time before he died.

We missed so many opportunities…

But, back to the young man in the picture. Right after their wedding Dad took my mother out of Oklahoma and transplanted her to California, where they lived for eighteen months or so. I happened during that eighteen months. Mothers are mothers, and since I am one, I was always pretty sure how Mom felt at my coming. But, Dad’s are a different breed of animal and I always wondered how he fit into that equation. 


I found a letter that my mother wrote to my stern faced grandmother right after I was born. I never saw it till after my mom passed, but it revealed a side of my dad to me that I’d never considered. A young man, on his own, just beginning his family and in awe of the possibilities that lay before him. My mom told my grandma that, “Charles comes home every day and goes straight to the crib. He stands there for a few minutes and just watches her breathe.”  


Do you see the hope and expectation in those sentences? What did he dream of in those moments while he watched me breathe and smiled at me with those fresh, cute dimples? I have to wonder if I fulfilled any of those dreams? 

Happy Father's day!!

***I hope you enjoyed your visit. Please take a few minutes to check out the page tabs to the right. Terri has a new author interview on her page. Stop by for a visit with Dani Pettrey and check out her debut novel SUBMERGED. Leave a comment on any page for a chance to win her new book. Karla has an upcoming release from Keli Gwyn featured on her page. Pam, bless her heart, has an unusual new recipe posted for you. Breakfast cookies, made with corn flakes and crumbled bacon. Check it all out!***

8 comments:

  1. Sharon this is a beautiful story of your Dad, maybe you were closer then you thought you were, I look at your face and his as a young man and you can definately tell you are his daughter. My first husband was a sailor and they do look handsome in those uniforms. Thanks for sharing today
    God Bless
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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    1. Paula, Thanks for your sweet comment.

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  2. Hi Sharon, love your story. We have a lot in common. My story is that my parents were madly in love, had 4 children every couple of years & daddy eventually found that he liked the construction work building the highways and byways of our nation, taking him to Florida and all points north. Not a good thing. Being gone from family is a bad mistake and if you don't have to make it, stay home and work. That was the end of our happy family; he made a mistake with a northern woman & forced my mother to get a divorce. Thru the years, Dad has been in/out of my life. I can count the times when he was "in" and it's not much...

    Thank you for your remembrance of your father and I wish you well. Life sometimes seems very unfair, but we must move through it with as much grace as we can.

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    1. Karen, thanks for your kind words.Yes we must move through the life that God gives us, but we must always take advantage of the opportunities he gives us as well. A good lesson to learn.

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  3. Wow what a awesome story about your Dad.....I would love to be entered in the contest for the book.....'Submerged'...by Dani Pettrey

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    1. I've entered you in the contest. I'm glad you enjoyed the blog, I hope you'll visit again.

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  4. That's such a bitter sweet story about your dad. I can feel you pain at his decisions, but under it all, he was your dad. I wonder if he shows up in your books?

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    1. Patty, Thanks for stopping by. No, my father hasn't made an appearance in my stories yet, but I wouldn't rule it out.

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