{My dad, my mom, and me}

You know how you grow up in a house with people all around you saying and doing the same things all the time, and you just figure that’s how things are in everyone’s house? Then, you go to visit one of your girlfriends and you realize not everyone puts sugar on their spaghetti, or sings out loud to Broadway soundtracks, or roller skates in their basement for fun.

Last night, with Father’s Day just around the corner, I started thinking about what it was like growing up in the house with my Daddy. It was fun, I tell you. My dad is da bomb! Poor thing, he lived in that house with my mom, my sister, and me, and all of our hormones and mood swings and drama, and he took it all in stride. We even had a female cat. “Yeah,” he’d say, “I’m outnumbered in my own house.” And then he’d drive us to ballet, or to cheerleading practice, or to get our hair pressed and curled. Or, he’d lie on his back on the floor in the dining room and I’d lay there next to him and we’d listen to Lena Horne singing through the speakers on my dad’s hi-fidelity stereo. Some days, our family of four would go for a bike ride; my dad in the lead. On car trips, he’d suddenly belt out a line of “Down In The Valley” just to keep things interesting. Good times.

My dad gave the best advice. He still does. Here are just a few of his one-liners:

1. We don’t have money for that. Every Sunday after church, we passed by McDonald’s, and nearly every Sunday, I tried to convince my dad to turn into the parking lot and buy me a Happy Meal. I pleaded. I begged. I probably even pouted, and I don’t remember a single time that my dad pulled into that parking lot. “We don’t have money for that,” he’d say, as I watched the golden arches pass me by. It was years before I realized my dad wasn’t saying he didn’t have a dollar in his pocket. He had the dollar. He just wasn’t going to spend it on a spontaneous Happy Meal.

2. Don’t sign anything without reading it, first. I don’t remember why or where my dad told me this, but I read everything, and I do it because he told me so. If my signature is on it, I’ve read every word. It annoys people sometimes. They want to tell me, “This part just says such-and-such, and this over here says so-and-so…” and I say, “OK. Thanks. I’ll read it.” Sometimes it takes two seconds, sometimes it takes two days. But I’m reading that bad boy before I sign it.

3. Pay with your credit card, then go immediately to the customer service desk and pay the bill. It was the first lesson I learned about building my credit, and I passed it along to my own children. But not after I’d tried it my own way, run up a ridiculous amount of debt, and had to take the slow and winding road to paying off all that debt. It’s good advice. I wish I’d paid attention the first time he said it.

4. If today is “the last chance to buy” it, there’s a good chance you don’t need it today. You know how people on television say, “Call now!” or you go to the store and the salesperson tells you, “This offer may not last,” or “This offer is only good for the next hour.” Yeah. My dad’s not buying that — not literally, and not figuratively. Just give me your best price. Today or tomorrow. Doesn’t matter. Don’t make a big deal of it. Just be honest, and give me your best price.

5. They’ll call back if it’s important. Back when we just had one telephone in the house and it was attached to the wall in the kitchen, I can remember being outside with my dad and hearing the phone ring, all the way inside the house. My dad would simply keep doing what he was doing. We didn’t have an answering machine, and I’d be panicked that my dad was ignoring the phone. “The phone’s ringing,” I’d say. “They’ll call back if it’s important,” my dad would answer. I think back to those moments when my phone chimes to tell me I have a new text message, or Facebook lets me know someone has updated their status. Sometimes I’m tempted to let that piece of information distract me from the moment I’m in and the people I’m with. But if it’s important, they’ll call back.

6. Meet you at the red light. Some days, on the way home from church, or on the way to ballet lessons, or on one of those road trips, someone would go speeding past my dad, in a hurry to get around him and to who knows where. “Meet you at the red light, buddy,” my dad would say as the car sped by. Sure enough, a few minutes later, we’d stop at a red light and — lo and behold — there would be that speedy car, in the lane right next to ours. Sometimes all that rushing doesn’t add up to much more than a little extra gas and a longer wait at the intersection.

7. God loves you. When my dad talks about Jesus, and how God has always made a way, and how the Holy Spirit sees him through the tough times, he gets all choked up. He’s not ashamed. He doesn’t hold back. He’s a hugger. He’s never met a stranger. People meet my dad and they are instantly in love, and that’s not hyperbole. He’s a cool guy, and he has been saved by grace, and he’s not shy about it. People may not always realize just what it is that makes him tick, but the truth is my dad knows that he knows that he knows God loves him, and he knows God loves you, too.

So, Happy Father’s Day, Daddy, one day early. Thanks for making it easy for me to see God as a Father who loves me, just the way I am.

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  1. 1

    Deidre,
    I think I would really love your dad! What a blessing for you to have him in your life and what a directional arrow he has been pointing you to the love of your Heavenly Father! That, is what a father should be all about. My dad went to be with his Father in Heaven 2 years ago and I miss him terribly. Give your dad an extra hug on Father’s Day and tell him how much you appreciate him :) .
    Blessings,
    Bev

  2. 3

    Sweet memories and great advice, Deidra. What a blessing a wise father is.

  3. 4

    Well, Deidra, count me as one who is in love with your Daddy. He sounds like the kind of man my Daddy was. Sure hope y’all have a great Father’s Day!

  4. 5

    Love every bit of this post, Deidra.

  5. 6

    This was such a sweet post Dedra. I laughed at “we don’t have the money for this” and thought of my own dad and the simple things he taught me.

  6. 7

    What a loving tribute….

  7. 8

    Alas, I did not have an earthly father like that. I had hoped for a daddy like that, and now I have one! He’s our Heavenly Daddy! Bless you for sharing this beautiful story in tribute to your father I am sure i would love him also.

  8. 9

    Didn’t realize it was Father’s Day tomorrow….but I was sorting some files today and came across the letter I wrote to my Dad only 6 weeks before he died..shed lots of tears and lingered on lots of wonderful memories…my Dad shared his love for Nature, books and being generous and treating others with honesty with me and my siblings….he sounds so much like your Dad….we are both so blessed to have such Dad’s…my heart goes out to those whose experience is of pain and hurt…..thank you Father in heaven that you make all those hurts go away as you share real Father hood with each one of us.

  9. 10

    Wow! Wonderful!

  10. 11

    Oh hearing some of those phrases was like my dad was still here and saying them as well! You had a dad who cared to teach you without making it a “lesson”. He sounded so loving and kind and showed you as well that our Heavenly Father cares so much He sent your dad to teach you as well. I loved your article.

  11. 12
    Michelle Prince Morgan says:

    Great post.

  12. 13

    Deidra … I think your Dad and my Dad must have been brothers from different mothers! Daddy died seven years ago … I miss him a lot of days. Reading this helped me remember him and smile today!!!

  13. 14

    cool dad. loved hearing his bits of wisdom :-)

  14. 15

    What a loving tribute to your Dad!

  15. 16

    What a delightful post:)! I loved every little bit of it. Thanks for sharing!:)! Please give your Dad a big hug for me :)

  16. 17

    My {foster} dad used to tell us kids the same thing as we were learning to drive. “Don’t waste your gas,” he’d say, “‘because you’re both going to end up at the same red light.”
    It’s advice I passed onto my kids.
    And I had completely forgotten that my cousins and I would roller skate in their basement! This was brought back some great memories for me. Thanks Deidra!!

  17. 18
    Valerie Hohenberger says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your dad! Mine was one of those that your dad would “meet at the red light!” Oh well, we did not have the same experiences, but we do have the SAME FATHER in Heaven!

  18. 19
    Christine says:

    You are so blessed to have such a wonderful dad! Not all of us were that fortunate, but at least we have a great Heavenly Father.

  19. 20
    Barb M. says:

    Much love to your daddy this Father’s Day! He and my daddy would have gotten along great; they thought a lot the same! Although, I did not get my fun dad all the time, he was serious a lot, having been in the service all his life and yet, to me, he never raised his voice. I miss him, but he got saved a couple of weeks before he passed away. I also was blessed for about 12 years with a stepdad whom I loved dearly too. He didn’t give me a lot of advice, but the way he treated people, and took care of mom and me, well, that was plenty. He was the one who had dry humor and always kind to my teen friends. I believe he also got saved before he passed, so I look forward to the reunion, with all my fathers!

  20. 21

    Love this, except… #3 is sad. Society tells us we have to build credit when actually we don’t. I’m telling my kids credit cards are dumb and you can live on cash. You can save up and buy a car… Swim upstream. Be weird. My dad has never used a credit card. But his house is paid for in full, he owes no one, and he has enough money saved to live comfortably. Don’t play games with credit cards. Seriously not worth it. We have a friend who is a millionaire, but has no credit. The credit card companies would turn him down, but he’s doing pretty good. Don’t believe the lie that we have to have credit to live.

  21. 22
    iowasally says:

    Loved what you wrote. I hope that one day my children will say similar things about me.

  22. 23
    Debby Clover says:

    I love the way that you talk about your father. I too was blessed with the best earthly father one can ever want. Every one that knew him loved him as well, he must have at least 20 to 30 children named after him. My Mom was killed in a car wreck when I was 21 years old, although I still miss my Mom so much I had 30 years to get to know my Dad as an adult. I am not happy about losing my Mom but My Dad was just so amazing. As a little girl he was my loving daddy and now I truly know the man he was. I thank God for that wonderful chance for me to know the best (100%) man on earth. I know Jesus is the best but he is 50% God, and no one can top that.

  23. 24

    Thank you for sharing. I was so blessed by your story. I was not raised in a christian family and didn’t know about the love of God. I laid my hands on the picture of your family and prayed over your dad and your family. More strength, more wisdom, more joy, and abundant blessings on him, and thanking Jesus for his fatherhood. Such great one liners – i am borrowing a few of them!

  24. 25

    Well, the apple don’t fall far from the tree, right?? This is a lovely tribute and I am not at all surprised to learn from it that I would love your dad. What a sweetheart! And that picture? Glory be.

  25. 26

    I do believe our daddy’s might just have been born in the same family. I got all of those same lessons from my own father. And I too, wish I had learned a few of them the first time. I love reading other people’s stories and finding that there are similarities of heart.

  26. 27
    Anonymous says:

    You, my dear lady……..have been truly blessed to have had such a wonderful father!

  27. 28

    This is lovely! I hung on every word! You have honored a wonderful man today! Both your earthy father and your Heavenly Father are (once again) delighted by you!

  28. 29
    Lucille says:

    What a touching post. It made me cry. Thank you for taking us down your memory lane
    and giving tribute to your earthly daddy this Father’s Day.
    Blessings to you all!!!

  29. 30

    This is SO, SO sweet, Deidra. And wise. Man, can’t we all learn a whole lot from your dad? My favorite: Meet you at the red light, buddy. Isn’t that truth? We rush, rush, rush and why? We’re all heading toward the same place.

  30. 31

    Thanks Deidra…for a great reminder of how we grow up with all those ‘one liners’…that I now pass on to my children and grandchildren! :)

  31. 32
    Susanne says:

    I absolutely loved this, especially the one-liners. We should all learn to live like this. I think the world would be a better place if we did.

  32. 33
    Beth Williams says:

    Deidra,

    I would have loved your dad. His directional one-liners were and still are great advice for anyone. Oh and my dad had 6 women (4 girls, wife, and mother-in-law) in the house at once. Talk about the estrogen flow and mood swings. I can relate some!

    My dad had a few good one-liners also. ME; “Everyone is doing it” Dad: “If everyone is jumping off a bridge you want to join them” or something to that effect. My dad is a good man and taught me that “nothing in this world is free”. When I turned 18 and started working I paid rent and helped around the house. That taught me to value money.

    Happy Father’s day everyone! May God bless you all and your families :)

  33. 34

    How blessed you are!!! I pray that my children will write the same thing about my husband one day!

  34. 35

    Beautiful tribute to your dad. Love these one liners! Yes, sounds like the kind of dad who is a blessing to love and be loved by. You’re a lucky daughter!

  35. 36

    There is so much to love about this and learn from it as well. I love that you used that word hyperbole. But ya know? I kind of think you got some good genes from your Daddy because I’m pretty sure people think you’re da bomb when they meet you too. Thanks for sharing a beautiful peek into your relationship with your father.

  36. 37

    Love this Father’s Day tribute, Deidra! What wonderful memories and excellent advice! Many blessings to you and yours! Cynthia

  37. 38

    Beautiful post! Made me realize that days of simplicity are truly precious. Perhaps the greatest truth & what is the basis of all meaningful living is in the line the line that your dad knew that he knew that he knew God loved him. All of life finds its meaning when we live in that truth. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.
    Blessings!
    Joanne

  38. 39
    Veronica says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your Fathers Day message to your Father. It blessing my heart to know all Christians think alike. My husband and I like hugs too and we used to do this as family, but our son is married now with his own family and never comes home anymore. I read this to my husband and he has tears in his eyes when I looked over at him when I finished reading your Fathers Day message. Pray for our family. We love our son, God will work it all out; One Day and we will give hugs that hae been lost for years.

    God bless you and your family on this Fathers Day!
    Bruce and Veronica Arnold

  39. 40

    SO glad I stopped over and saw this Deidra! Thankful you have such a great dad and that you shared him with us. And what about that “….sugar on spaghetti?” Funny.

  40. 41

    Your dad sounds like a great guy. Happy to read you know it! I grew up with some of those same sayings. Your post brought back some memories.

  41. 42

    I just loved this. My Dad was so sweet and would say two things often The Lord provides. And Turn it over to The Lord.
    He really did not have the dollar in his pocket for all of us to eat out but he made life fun by making celebrations of the free movies at the park in a little town not far from our farm. When he had an item just needed right then, he’d find it at the sales yard which he renamed the Lord’s Warehouse. Aren’t we lucky our dads taught us wisdom and love for God? I know we are!! God blessed us.

  42. 43
    Qhippie4ever says:

    Deidra,

    Your Dad sounds Awesome!! Happy Father’s Day Deidra’s Dad :-)

  43. 44

    Thanks so much! Your reflection is beautiful!

  44. 45
    Prudence says:

    Deidra,

    You are blessed to have your Dad! I was not so blessed in the Dad department, but I am always so encouraged to hear about those lucky people out there who were and are. Give your Dad a hug for me – maybe in heaven someday we can chat. Happy Father’s Day Deidra’s Dad – You have made a positive difference in your daughter’s life and in the world. Blessings to you both…

  45. 46

    I loved hearing your Dad. Thank you for sharing, Deidra,

  46. 47

    I just love your dad. I love that he’s a hugger. So touched by this and by your relationship with him, dear Deidra. Sharing. Love, e.

  47. 48

    Great post – enjoyed every word. What an inspiration your dad is!

  48. 49

    Deidra, I love this so much – what a great tribute to your dad!

  49. 50

    What a beautiful tribute. So many good memories and life lessons.

  50. 51
    Tracy Greene says:

    So honoring and respectful to teach the lessons of life taught to you by your earthly Father. I believe we not only honor our parents by repeating their advice we also gift others with their words. By repeating and passing on those wonderful tidbits of wisdom we ourselves have been so blessed to receive, we also continue to pass on to other generations the respect of their wisdom. We “honor our Mother and Father” as God intended. I am blessed!

  51. 52

    Lovely,lovely post. Your Dad sounds like a wonderful man!l penny L in Dorset U.
    K xxx

  52. 53

    This is so beautiful, Diedre. I’d love to meet your dad–he sounds a lot like mine. :) I think my favorite of his sayings was, “See you at the red light.” That’s great!

  53. 54

    Thank you, Deidra, for sharing about your dad. It gives people like me hope. There are some good men out there. And my husband is one of them for sure. But neither of us have a dad. (His father passed away when he was 10, and my dad left when I was 14.)

    Hearing stories like yours actually gives those of us who are parent-less some ideas on how to be parents ourselves. Most of the time, we feel like we’re feeling our way through the dark, doing the best we can. :) We all needs examples to serve as our guides.

    “Meet you at the red light.” I like that. Such a good lesson for life.

  54. 55

    What a beautiful tribute to your Godly daddy. My father has been gone for over 20 years, but your post helped me to remember some of the great “life-lessons” he was so good at passing along. Blessings to you and your parents, cherish every moment you have with them, for when they are gone you miss them more than you can ever imagine right now!

  55. 56

    I smiled out loud when I read the part about you and your dad on the floor, listening to Lena Horne. And I want to meet your dad sometime. I’m a hugger too, and I always, always get choked up when I think about God’s goodness.

  56. 57

    I think our dads would have been friends.

  57. 58
    Letitia says:

    What an awesome dad! You are blessed. I loved your article and the sweet memories shared.

  58. 59

    This makes me sad your dad looks like mine and he died in jan. Wow

  59. 60

    Oh Deirdra! This warms my heart! The first moment I met you, (at the Jumping Tandem Retreat), I could tell you loved God and that He loved you and that you knew that He loved you… and you hugged me tight, (a complete stranger!), and I knew that that hug was part you and part God hugging me through you!! {long smile} Thank you for this post! Made me smile from start to finish! And thank you for carrying on his powerful legacy! Blessings!

  60. 61

    Just want to press the like-a-lot button. Thanks for capturing the essence of a good dad.

  61. 62

    Thank you for sharing the memories you shared with your father. I also had a great childhood with my parents before they got divorced. I don’t have any special moments per say (I mean I have many but cant remember all of them). My parents were laid back and didn’t really sweat the small stuff.

  62. 63

    so much wisdom. sounds like your dad is a great man.

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