17 June 2012

Two Fathers...Twice The Love And Learning

It's Father's Day.  I lived a different life than many who will make tribute to fathers this day, for two very different men fulfill the role of father in my life.

Stella Chess quotes

I was quite young when my parents divorced.  Cultural differences and family issues raged throughout their lives - and therefore - through my own.  My father is a good man, upright and very, very German.  He is possibly the most intelligent person I've ever known.  His demand for excellence motivated me, but I struggled to live up to his expectations.

Jean De La Fontaine quotes

My father was my teacher, instilling in me a love for G-d, his law, for justice.  He read to me almost daily.  G-d's law was ever discussed, examined, explained.  Never allowing me to take the easy way out, my father insisted I confront myself in all areas of life.  A master logician, he rebuffed any faulty argument, shaping my worldview and igniting in me a thirst, a quest for knowledge, truth, and wisdom.  I can not fully express my gratitude.  His example laid the foundation for my love affair with words.  English words, root words, Hebrew words, Greek words - all were defined, compared, and discussed.  My father studied continuously, he does so to this day.  My father taught me the beauty of ritual and worship. I respect him highly, and his opinion is one I value dearly.  I will get the harsh truth when I ask for it (and sometimes when I don't ask for it); this comforts me.  It's a stable rock to stand on, to spring from as I pursue new adventures.

Toni Morrison quotes

In stark contrast, my step father hailed from the Mediterranean.  He is a man of love, a man of hugs, of praise and openly expressed emotion.  Large family gatherings, boisterous conversation, gentle guidance, and a world where everything revolved around the family table - a life where connection held top billing - this was his gift to me.  He taught me every bit as much as my father, but his lessons focused on building strong family ties and offered a sense of belonging.  While he held very high expectations, his love was never in question.  Praise was given when I succeeded, and maybe lavished even more when I put myself out there and failed.  I never wondered if he was proud of me.  There was never a time I could not share my joys, my fears, my anything.  He suffered through the teen years like a trooper, schlepping through malls and Deb Shop like a pro!  He spent countless hours schooling me in Cribbage - we still play...and he still wins.  Chiller Theatre on Friday nights around a large bowl of popcorn, motorcycle rides to get a frozen custard, noodle making day, yard work, laundry, after dinner dishes...he spent time with me - and still does.  We have tea.  We talk about life.  We laugh over the kids. 

Unknown quotes

In some ways, I count myself luckier than most.  Two very different men stepped up to the plate to raise a daughter in two very different ways.  The benefit is all mine.  I gained the ability to view the world and all that goes on in it through two lenses - at times complimentary, and at others opposing - and because of that, I have the richness of both perspectives.

To both of my dads...Thank You.  I love you. 

Garrison Keillor quotes


  1. A beautiful tribute. They were both lucky to get you as a daughter.

  2. Beautiful story. Happy Father's day to them both!

  3. What a fantastic post about two different father figures who imparted so much. I'm glad I stopped by.