(Originally posted June 18, 2011)
That best states how I have always felt around my Daddy. No one could love a child more than my Daddy has always loved me. Never one to hold back hugs or reassurance of love and approval, my Daddy is truly one in a million.
So why ‘Awkward’? That’s a very good question. In the years after moving away from home, I have met friends whose Fathers continue to place pressure on them to live up to certain expectations or fulfill a legacy of daunting proportions. My Daddy has always encouraged me to prepare for a secure future, “So you won’t have to work as hard as your Mama and I did.” But of course he worries…like all Daddy’s…he wants to be sure his “little boy” is in a good place, both now and later.
There are so many reasons to be thankful for a Daddy like mine. Daddy has never pressured me to “be” anyone other than who I am. Ever. He has never pressured me to “like” sports, the great outdoors, or British comedies. What Daddy has done for me is embrace my strengths. I have long thought that my Daddy has never really “understood” me, and that may or may not be the case. Whether or not that is the case has never affected the way my Daddy has treated me…with unconditional love my entire life.
When I wanted a doll house kit for Christmas one year, that is just what I got. Another Christmas, nothing would make me happier than the Barbie Camper AND Malibu Ken in his oh-so-fashionable florescent orange square-cut swimsuit. Guess what Santa brought? Just what I asked for!
Please don’t think that my childhood and life at home was a pampered, silver spoon upbringing, as nothing could be farther from the truth. Daddy grew up on the farm, and being outdoors digging in the dirt is one of his favorite places to be. Not me. Though I was put behind the handles of the lawnmower a few times, I learned the meaning of the word “bargain” early as I would offer to do most anything this side of Tennessee to avoid pushing that lawnmower one inch!
Inside the house, I would constantly rearrange the furniture, organize the closets, fold the laundry with corners matched, and iron whatever needed to be ironed. Bookshelves in the Den and the China cabinet would constantly receive a fresh and updated look as I flexed my muscle as our home’s Interior Decorator in residence! Even now, Daddy will tell me before I sit down my suitcase, “We need you to take a look at the mantle, and the China Cabinet will need a little sprucing up before you head back to Texas!” Daddy appreciates my strengths, and thank goodness for that!!
Even when he knew I was in agony, Daddy still insisted that I learn how to change a flat tire. Daddy was surely in agony by the end of that lesson, and no doubt said a prayer that someone with better bolt loosening skills than mine would be close by whenever the tires fell flat. Those outdoorsy, mechanical, and “messy” jobs were not my forte, and Daddy knew that. I think after a while he just felt sorry for me and gave up any wish for me to fortify my skills in the realm of mechanical…
So why DO I feel awkward around my Daddy? Always a “Mama’s boy,” I guess I never felt I could relate to my Daddy in the areas of things he enjoyed most: sports, gardening, being outdoors. Of course there are definitely characteristics that I share with Daddy…we are both social beings, enjoying having company, preparing for a party or large event. We love the mountains, and had rather spend a vacation among the peaks than on the beach any old day! Traveling and seeing places undiscovered are common favorites. Packing a car for a trip or a moving van full of furniture, Daddy and I can put collective skills up against the best! Dan still marvels at how much I can get into a small space, and I can give no other the credit than my dear old Daddy!!
Yes, I must confess…I enjoy telling a good story just as much as my Daddy does…though please, friends…if I ever begin repeating stories over, and over, and over, just humor me. My Daddy is known to recount tales a time or two. Or twelve. Or twenty. I’m learning to bite my tongue and smile as he tells the Mickey and Minnie Mouse stuffed animal story for the nine-thousand forty-second time…this year.
As I have gotten older, there have been times where something I did or said stopped me in my tracks causing me to gasp aloud, “That was just like my Daddy!” Even though it may be a shocking experience at times when I moan with creaking bones as I get up off the floor, or even the sound I make when clearing my throat, being ‘just like my Daddy’ is not a bad thing at all!
Oh, but that more things I do should be like my Daddy….except of course for voting Republican, or putting butter on a biscuit. Drinking coffee? Sorry, Daddy! I’ve got to keep a bit of individuality! Fear not, though Daddy dear! Let there be no doubt I am my Daddy’s child, a Creel through and through! The ‘Tiz’ we get in when times running short before a due date, the unrelenting internal motor that will run at times until it literally runs out, are but a few things that forever connect our fraternal heritage.
Not once has my Daddy given me reason for this awkward feeling that at times gnaws away at me. Living up to what the world says a ‘Son’ should be I know is what causes unwarranted feelings of guilt and awkwardness. A blessing of the greatest sort has come in the form of my wonderful, athletically gifted nephew Benjamin to lessen my awkward feelings. Finally, Daddy has got his chance to sit in the stands and root for his home team! Ben has brought more joy to Daddy than I ever could have imagined, and it warms my heart to see the pride Daddy has been able to shine on Ben in all of his athletic accomplishments. For years I wondered why God didn’t bestow on me just a LITTLE athletic prowess, now I know. God was saving it all up for Ben, for surely it would have been wasted on me!!
Though I will never be a Father or a Daddy…a Grandfather or a Paw-paw, I have been blessed with the best there is, my Daddy, Leo Creel. He has blessed me with unconditional love and support for the past 48 years, and for that I can never fully express my thankfulness, gratitude and love for him.
I am a lucky boy, truly I am. Hopefully, my Daddy feels the same way. I love you, Daddy from the bottom of my heart! HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!