Growing up, I didn't know what it was like to have a dad who came home every night, or parents who modeled good communication skills with one another. My parents were divorced. Their relationship with each other was, without a doubt, one in which they loved each other, but sometimes love is not always healthy. It's like the song "Wild Horses" by Garth Brooks when he says, "Before I hurt her more than she loves me." Everyone has a breaking point.
|Kissing. See, I have proof!|
Well, I can tell you. This is one of those instances where they say, "Hindsight is 20/20." Being in my teenage years, it didn't take me long to see that Howard would have been the softy parent and let me do lots of things my mom would absolutely not let me do. Don't get me wrong. My mom was an incredible parent, and I was a pretty good, obedient kid. However, there were many times I asked him to talk to her to see if I could get some extra privilege or get her to lighten up on some discipline. Later curfews. Open lunch at school. Driving long distances. It was always the same. He would come back and say, "Nope, she won't budge." I should have negotiated that joint parenting deal a little better!
One thing Howard and I loved to do was to watch action movies together. I was a teenager and questionably old enough to watch what we watched, but we loved it. Terminator. Predator. Rambo: First Blood. I still remember the scene at the end of the movie Rambo where Sylvester Stallone says in his characteristic, mumbly speech which you can hardly understand, "They drew first blood." You can feel his despair and exhaustion as he sits there covered in dried blood. Classic cinema, I'm telling ya!
Howard showed me that you can have someone come into your life and love you for who you are. He came home every night. He helped me if I ever needed help. He provided for our family along with my mother. He was the one who taught me how to drive. However, he taught me part of the time to drive my mom's car which had a stick shift and began to laugh hysterically when I would stall out in first. All I am saying is that there was a lot of laughter in the car that day. Stick shift cars are still not my gift to this day.
Years later, after her marriage to Howard, she was shocked when she pulled the plate out of the cabinet and looked at it for the first time in years. It was most definitely a picture of my dad and Howard drawn about 10 years before she and Howard ever married. It was fated, if you want to call it that. Destined to be. Written in the stars. Even my dad 2 weeks before he died said he couldn't have imagined choosing anyone better for my mom than Howard. Some dads you get biologically, and some dads you get by marriage. I consider myself very blessed to have had both.
Happy Father's Day, Howard. I love you!