(Originally posted on Thursday, June 18, 2009)
“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
— Dinah Craik
Tasha from almost the beginning was an explorer. When she was only a few months old, she was already trying to climb out of here crib! We were new parents and wanted to provide her with plenty of stimulation — we succeeded almost too well. Her room was painted with bright, flourescent colors. She went with us everywhere, and Grace took her to Aunt Marilyn’s for babysitting during the day after she returned to teaching that spring. Tasha was interested in almost everything. And, she spent most of her time with kids who were slightly older than herself.
“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”
— Sigmund Freud
What she needed most was guidance. You didn’t need to prompt her into action; she did that on her own. But she needed my help [and my actions were intended to be helpful] in selecting and limiting what she took on. She was into painting. She was into tennis. She wanted to learn to play the piano. She was into dance. She was a busy girl! All these things let her sample her environment and find out what she was best at. She was a bright, talented little lady. Yes, sometimes se drove us crazy, but what a joy to see her developing the many talents she had!
“Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever.”
— Author Unknown
As a father, my job was to try to be her guide — she did the hard work. Sometimes she was hard to deep up with, but it was awesome to see her develop through childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. She and I shared many of the same interests and aptitudes; this also led to conflicts on occasion. She loved to travel. And she seemed to be fearless. During graduate school, she decided that she wanted to study in Germany. She found a study-abroad program that included an internship with the Bundestag [German Parlement] in Bonn. Off she went alone and spent the next semester and summer there. What an exerience that was for our little go-getter!
“Be kind to thy father, for when thou wert young, Who loved thee so fondly as he? He caught the first accents that fell from thy tongue, And joined in thy innocent glee.”
— Margaret Courtney
Children will grow and go their own ways. All we can do is to try to be a guiding, helpful hand. Through all of Tasha’s experiences, I saw this little girl turn into a beautiful woman. When she married I was proud to walk her down the aisle. While it is difficult to accept her living abroad in Germany, she has succeeded as a woman, as a business professional and as a wife/mother. I was so thrilled when she brought our little grandson, Máté, to see us last Christmas. He is a precious little man and I’m sure that his father, Isti, will try to be a model for him as I have tried to be for Tasha.
“Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers — and fathering is a very important stage in their development.”
— David M. Gottesman
Life is too short. All we can do is to try to be the best father we know how to be. We must lead by example, human as it may be, and nurture these precious little ones given to us to guide for so little a while.