DAD STORIES: memories of a man who got it right



The sun sleeps, tucked in tight, as I write these words, still too early on a winter’s morn to rise and melt the frost from the ground. In the dark my family slumbers on, wrapped in the downy warmth of dreams, serenely oblivious to the stresses that will rise with the dawn.

I am wide awake. Teapot half empty, my mind fills with rumblings of ideas. Words catch my listening ears in the stillness. Words from a Father who speaks in the silence.

I have always loved these earliest morning hours. On the rare times when I awake to others already awake, I feel the loss, the disappointment— as if I’ve missed the mystical magic of the morning.

And I know why…

Every morning when I was growing up, my dad got up first. Quietly, he’d patter down the stairs, plug in the coffee pot filled with Folgers the night before. While the perking and burbling filled the kitchen, scents drifted to my bedroom at the top of the stairs. And up he’d come.

Every morning.

“Di, it’s time to wake up.” He’d nudge my shoulder while I pretended to sleep. “Honey, wake up, it’s time…” the allure of sweetened coffee surrounding him like priceless perfume.

Eyes open now, my first glimpse of every day was him. My father: gentle, firm, kind, in control.

Every morning.

And I wake the same way still. Gently, sensing something, someone. Happy, ready, wanting to wake up, I rise as if my dad were hovering close with kind urgings to meet my day. A smile.

How many mornings have I sensed the Father’s breath on my face, His invitation to come, to meet Him before my world awakes? Just like my dad.

Come and be with Me.

And I do.

Far away, high in the mountains he loves, my dad is awake too. Wrapped in his plaid robe, slippers on, hair all ajumble. He’s got the coffee going, a light by his chair. He watches the sun rise, filling the silence with his own thoughts. Plans and hopes for the day ahead.

And I wonder, Dad, do you remember? A little girl, grown now, with wrinkles of her own. Did you know then that you were ushering me into the magic of the morning? Did you sense my need to be with you first? To share the quiet?

Or was it the Father of us both who knew? That one day I’d want these mornings with Him. That in the quiet I’d hear. That I’d need to get up early and He could make me want to by giving me a dad to love me this way.

My dad wasn’t perfect, of course not. But he made perfect mornings for me and he did it by just being himself… and by letting me be with him… and making me want to.

The sun is up now, the teapot empty. And I linger a while, my heart overflowing with memories of a childhood marked by joy. I wish, oh how I wish, that every child could say the same…

… and that alarm clocks would fade out of fashion… because of dad’s like mine.

From my heart,


5 Things My Dad Did Right:

  1. He knew my need for a gentle touch.
  2. He stayed the same, guaranteeing the security everyday sameness brings.
  3. He didn’t let the stresses of his job interfere with quiet mornings.
  4. He instilled in me the habit of preparing for the day ahead rather than flinging haphazardly into the fray.
  5. He showed me the way of the Father without saying a word.