The new falcon herald logo.
General Articles

Missed call, missed calling

She was only 2 1/2 and already had opinions. A tiny strident voice came from the baby seat behind me in the car: “Daddy, you’re holding mommy’s wheel!” Ah, she was awake. Oblivious to the adorable snowsuit zipper tracks on her face from her recent nap, she was indignant that I drove mommy’s car. I chuckled to myself. Mommy was having the day off and I was taking the kids to town. “Honey,” I replied, “sometimes mommy and daddy trade wheels.”Our little girl has always had strong, rational opinions and always wanted an explanation of things that vex her. She is truly ours. There was no mix up at the hospital when she was born. I smiled inwardly at seeing such a strong little personality. We wanted our children so very deeply. Coming from the “Me Generation,” we’d made that clear before marriage.It seems my wife and I came from a generation that largely never wanted to grow up. Young men that I knew in my 20s had no time for a wife or a family. They planned to have grand adventures and climb mountains in the Andes and Nepal. There was a woman back in those days, and she and I were in love. It seemed we’d marry, but ultimately she pursued the life of a gypsy without ties and never married me or anyone else. Too many years have passed now. The lack of any sort of solid choice it seems is itself a choice, and aren’t we all trapped by time?Ah, the thrilling single life. No compromises need ever be made with a spouse. No long view, no working things out. No sweet yet needy young children vying for one’s attention. And every few months when the shine dulls, it’s time for a new relationship – until that gets stale, too! I understood that the woman from the past has had many adventures. She had traveled to India and studied yoga there.Many of us baby boomers acted as though we were the end-all of our ancestry, instead of a link in the chain of human life. I was never comfortable with my peer’s attitude of permanent childhood. I knew I’d want marriage and a family. I had met other young women who it turned out never wanted children. They figured now that they were here, they wanted to remain childless forever and play, play, play.Sometimes, I’d gotten the line that this old world was just too awful a place for raising children. I had no answer for mid 20-year-olds or even young men and women in their 30s who wished to remain childless and single. If you want to play forever, well, it’s your life. Still, I thought having a family was a fine adventure and a final part of growing into an adult. It is good to realize that life is not always about me and my whims. For the “awful world” ladies I dated, I’d tell them that I was glad our caveman ancestors didn’t think that way. They camped out their entire lives, and it wasn’t with North Face or Coleman either! I’m glad that they raised the people that led to me. I told them, “I think the world is wonderful.”Our children are in their early 20s now themselves. As a teen, our daughter had been quite a handful. Why was she so rebellious? Probably because she could be. Her home life was solid, secure and full of love and parental involvement. From family outings to 4-H animals we were so involved with our children and for a time, lived our lives for them. I understand that rebellion is normal, a part of separating and leaving the nest and making one’s own way. Still, it had hurt to see our teenaged girl be cruel to her mother and to me, too. Once, years ago when I had her help me bring in wood for the fire and help with chores when she’d wanted to spend hours on the phone, she said, “I hate you!””Well, I love you,” I shrugged. “Now let’s get this cart loaded.” She and I had been such good friends her whole life, until she became a teen. I asked her why we didn’t get along when we used to always talk and love one another so much. She’d said that she had changed, and that maybe I should change, too. “Nope,” I replied, “I’ll never change. I’m your dad. It’s my job and that’s for life.”Gradually, as she got older, moved out on her own and went to college, she realized that her rebellious behavior never dimmed our love and hopes for her. Sure I was sad about it. I was frustrated. But I was still there, waiting when she came back. We have a long, close history and my little friend, my little girl and I are closer these days than we have been since she was very young. I keep her old car running, but one day not too long ago it needed more work than I could do, so we towed it to the automatic transmission shop and she borrowed mom’s (automatic shift) car. Mom happily drove the ranch Jeep. (Mom likes trucks.)And so it was last week that I left work, driving home alone and saw I had a message on my phone. I rolled along down a lonely stretch of two lanes on the prairie east of town and played the message back: “Dad, it’s me. I’m driving home from work and I realized that I’m holding mommy’s wheel. I was just thinking. You’ve done so much for mom, my brother and me through the years. You cared for us, fed us and built us a home with your own hands. Sometimes times were tight, but I saw you always scraped it together, you were always on point for your family. You’ve taken such good care of us. You’re the best dad any girl could want. I love you dad.”I had to pull the car over onto the dirt shoulder just then. For a little while to do the button dance and save that message. It wasn’t my birthday, there was no special occasion. Just an ordinary afternoon for a tired guy driving home from work.But who is wealthy enough to buy such a message? It’s not the sort of message someone who remains 20 until they are 60 will ever know. Not even every parent will get such a thoughtful, selfless call. For certain a lifelong single mountaineer will never know that particular peak, and I’d guess a person won’t find such appreciation and love if they searched all of India. One day, out of the blue with no demand or expectation, half a lifetime of selfless love comes rushing back. The world is wonderful, isn’t it?Tom

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers