• 73°

A tribute to my invested dad at Fathers Day

In college, I took a creative writing class where I had to experiment with free verse poetry.

We were asked to try to write a love poem. This was straight up my alley, since I am the biggest romantic fan. However, I wanted to impress my professor and switch up my writing, so I tried to write about a different kind of love: Parental. This was surprisingly tricky.

I was one of those kids that everyone thought had “strict” parents. That wasn’t entirely true. I had invested parents. They simply just wanted me to be a wise, functioning teenager. They had standards for their kids.

My father was the type of dad that had to talk to every boy who wanted to take me on a date. The kind of dad that asked about my friends, my grades and my weekend plans. The one who would take me on drives when he felt led to give me some advice about a situation when he noticed I wasn’t handling it very well on my own. He says he’s been praying for wisdom since before knowing he would be a dad, and you can tell. It oozes off of him, and I hope one day it’ll jump off and stick to me. 

As a stupid, stubborn teenager, I saw his involvement — in a kind word — as “different.” None of my other friends had to get their boyfriends to talk to their dads first. They didn’t have to be home super early on Saturday nights to be fully rested for church in the morning. It took me a long time to realize I am blessed to have a dad who cared that much.

I have the dad who texted me, “Do I need to come back and get you?” an hour after he moved me into my dorm. The type who is always down for one of his kids to visit his office, no matter how busy he is. The one who drove hundreds of miles up and down the state to watch a 20-minute cross-country race where I probably didn’t even run well.

My dad is a great teacher. One day after I first got my license, I locked myself out of the house and couldn’t figure out how to use my key. He showed up a few minutes later, and instead of unlocking the door for me, he taught me how to use a key. Of course, in my teenage angst, there may have been some eye rolling involved. But I haven’t locked myself out since. I’ve never had a problem with using a key ever again.

In my Creative Writing class, I decided to write a poem about how much my dad loves his cows. We don’t have very many, but he takes care of them like they are his literal children. We like to joke that he has two families because of how much care they require. I realized that the farmer-to-cow dynamic is very similar to the father and child relationship. The farmer does more work behind the scenes than the cows can even comprehend, but they are always taken care of.

By writing this poem, I understood why my dad had the rules he did — behind the scenes. He was already my age once, and he was just trying to protect his kids from whatever he possibly could.  All of his involvement made sense.

If you’ve ever watched a cow, you can tell that they’re smart, but they can be mighty stubborn. Cows don’t understand. They have to learn to trust the farmer to help them grow. Kids don’t understand. They have to learn to trust their dads.

Knowing that my dad is always a phone call away is one of the most reassuring things in my life. Seeing that my grandfather still provides for my mom even when she has a family of her own is also a blessing and something I want in my future. I wish everyone could experience paternal love the way I do.

Dads, your kids will appreciate your investment in their lives. As my dad always says, “Go after your kids’ hearts!”

Emmaline Wolfe is an intern at The Daily Leader.