By Debra Flashenberg
Growing up, my mother was always the main caregiver. She was the one that schlepped me to Hebrew school, ballet, and voice lessons. My father, on the other hand, worked. I remember my dad’s presence mostly at dinner and on the weekends. After he came home from work, he would tuck himself away in his home office and continue to work as I watched television or finished my homework. He certainly wasn’t a neglectful father; he was just always working. And that is what I thought fathers did.
As I look back, I think of him as an overlooked warrior. He was the one responsible for supporting our family, a responsibility he took very seriously. He was also the homework-checker and the one who gave the “final say.” And it is very possible that he did not get his fair share of “thank you”s along the way.
When I was in college, my computer printer broke down at 10pm the night before my paper was due. Did I take him for granted when he drove into Boston to help me fix it? He didn’t stand in my way when I announced that I wanted to be an actress. Instead he showed up for every show. (He even sat through several performances of Hair and embarrassingly looked away when the nude scene came.) Thankfully he even calmed my mother down when I came home freshman year with my nose pierced!
My father died 11 1/2 years ago–a very quick, sudden death. He never got to see my yoga studio, or even meet my husband or the baby named after him. But as I look around at the yoga center I built, I see him in everything I do. He was a lawyer and kept every document and receipt as a paper trail “in case” something happened with the computer, just as I do. My father’s office had piles of papers that seemed like one big mess, but he insisted he knew what was in those piles and that it was his own way of being organized, just as I do. He was meticulous with his work and always kept his client’s best interest in mind, just as I do. Even though he never stepped foot in the Prenatal Yoga Center, he is there. In his own quiet way, my dad shaped who I am today through his values and integrity.
Father’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to say “thank you” and “I love you” to our co-creators, who may be more of the stage managers in our lives than the leading characters.
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