A Hug from Dad…

IMG_1383As I reflect on Father’s Day, I am reminded of a special time I had with my Dad before he passed away 13 years ago…  We always knew Dad loved us…he just wasn’t one to demonstrate it through hugs and loving words or emotional connectedness. It was pretty much the sign of the times for a lot of people in his generation. However, I have to say that some of my friend’s father’s showed more of an emotional connection than my Dad did with us. I yearned for a closer connection with him as I was growing up. Actually, I didn’t realize that until much later in life…

This “Hug from Dad” story started during a family gathering where I saw my Dad hug my sister-in-law. WOW…he is hugging her but he doesn’t EVER hug me…WHAT is THAT ABOUT??? As I reflected on this after the party, I realized something pretty profound! He wasn’t hugging her…SHE was hugging him…LOL:-) So…that put me on a mission to Hug my Dad! At that time, my parents lived in a cabin on Big Stone Lake during the summer and in Sun City, AZ during the winter. I decided to schedule a time to go by myself to Big Stone Lake (AKA My On Golden Pond:-) and spend some time interviewing my Dad to learn more about him. My ultimate ‘Secret Goal’ was to “Get That Hug” before I left…

I ended up recording 5 hours of conversation with him that weekend! I learned so much about him. Some things I knew and most things I didn’t…at least not from having a conversation with him about it. Some of the stories about his growing up years were quite heart-breaking. Certainly made him stronger, however, not much of an example for him to become a father who demonstrates his love through emotional connections, sweet conversations, and lots of hugs…:-). So…a new realization came over me. He didn’t know a different way. It put me in a new place of compassion and acceptance about him and his way of showing love toward us…

I also learned something quite profound during that Interview. He was a pilot in the air force and he loved that so much! As he described what it was like in the cockpit, he moved his body like he was actually flying the plane. It was so COOL to see him smiling and sharing how much he enjoyed it. I asked him why he didn’t pursue becoming a pilot for a commercial airline after he got out of the service. He said “I didn’t think they would take me because I wasn’t trained for flying commercial planes.” WOW…that took me to another new level of realization about him. He did not follow through with what he really loved because he did not think he was good enough (which, by the way, would be a very likely case considering the examples he shared about his growing up years).

He and my Mom ended up taking over my Grandparent’s farm and they both worked hard to provide for our family (my 3 brothers and me:-). I always felt taken care of from that perspective. Nice home, always having food on the table, nice clothes to wear, and fun family times, etc. So…he became a farmer instead of a pilot. And…my Mom quit her job in town to become a farmer’s wife… As it turns out, she didn’t follow her dream of the city life, either. Although, for both of them, the farm provided a good living and Mom is still reaping the benefits from all that hard work:-)!

And…GUESS WHAT? I hugged my Dad right before I left that day! It kinda felt like hugging a board…but I initiated it and Got That Hug:-)! And…when I got in the car to leave, the first song on the radio was “Butterfly Kisses” (In case you aren’t familiar with the song, it is a Father’s song to his daughter:-). Oh My Gosh…I needed a windshield wiper on the inside of my car to wipe away the tears:-). What a magical moment and beautiful validation for a weekend worth far more than I could have imagined…

I tell this story in Honor of my Father on Father’s Day. And…to share 3 main lessons learned from my “On Golden Pond” time with him. Hopefully, it will help you on your journey too:

1. We never know why people behave the way they do. Sometimes just taking the time to sit down, ask a few open ended questions and really listen can make all the difference in our acceptance of them. And…it may even help them to show up differently in the future. (The next time I saw my Dad was in Arizona. When I walked in the door, HE got up and Hugged ME! NOW THAT is a BEHAVIOR CHANGE I did not expect!:-) Amazing…  

And…sometimes just being in wonderment about what may have happened in a person’s life to have them behave the way they do may be all that is necessary to move from judgment to acceptance! It is a much more pleasant place to be when creating empowering communications, resolving issues, and building relationships…

2. When we KNOW what we LOVE to do and FEEL it in our Heart…that is pretty clear guidance...GO for it! Or, at least, take the steps in that direction so there are no regrets later in life. If we aren’t feeling GOOD ENOUGH to Go for It! Then…do something to clear the way to YES…I AM GOOD ENOUGH! Then…Go For It!

3. If we want a Hug…Give a Hug!  And…do it now before it’s too late. It was only a few years after I ‘Got That Hug’ that he passed away. My only regret is that I wish I had done it sooner…

Thanks Dad for being YOU! That fun spirited, hard working, creative father who showed his love in so many more ways than hugs and I love you’s…

And…Thanks to you for taking the time to read this Special Father’s Day Message! If there are things holding you back from creating more of what you want in your life, feel free to contact me! One of my favorite things to do is help people clear the way to more purpose, passion, and playfulness in everyday life! Sessions can be done in person, on the phone, or Skype… 

Until next time…Hope your Father’s Day and every other day is filled with positive memory making moments and lots of Hugs!

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