A Note To All MEN on Father’s Day
Today I went water skiing for the first time in 30 years.
It was almost like riding a tricycle. All of the times when I was only twelve, a boyfriend of my mom’s would take us to the river and teach us to ski. The things he would shout, “bend your knees, let the boat pull you up!” came flowing back to me.
Looking back I think, he didn’t have to be so good to us. He didn’t have to pull us up and down sloughs in his boat from early sun-up to dusk. He didn’t have to teach me to back the trailer down the hill while he hooked up the boat. He didn’t have to let me drive illegally.
But he did. And he made a tremendous impact in less than a year while he was with us. He was one of the sweetest men I knew, but looking back, too weak a spirit for our family or for my mother.
I looked him up when I took my Sr. Trip in High School. He was happily married living in South Florida. I was glad he had found a great life outside of Livingston. Mom broke his heart. Think it was the brown van in the driveway that drove her crazy, it had painted designs on the doors. We loved driving it, Danielle and I, up and down the driveway. I think my sister must have been ten then.
I look back at that time, now 44, and cherish the sunset afternoons on the river. My sister and I skiing on his shoulders, my mom watching and I think then she was even skiing.
After we docked today at the lake, I came in, made a post on fb, my latest obsession, and thought, I’ll write “Pete” a quick note. I knew he was most recently a PE coach for a Bradenton High School. “I’ll tell him how much it meant to me, all those days with us.”
And there it was, in Person Search. Died, 2008.
Because of him, I can waterski, I know I could drive a truck, I could trailer a hitch. It is the little things that men take the time to share with us that make us who we are.
I have always been an independent “woman” type all my life and those who know me are quite perplexed with the gentleness I express when talking of Pete. I have run off QUITE a few boyfriends AND a questionable husband or two. (not all mine) But I write this to remind all of the boyfriends, husbands, and even friends of women with children, YOU can make a difference.
How often do you take the time to throw a ball (Jim Pate taught me to pitch when I was about six and I played until I was at least nine, he’d yell at me just as loudly as his boys “catch that ball!”. I loved that he didn’t treat me differently. Back then I think I was always on the “shirts off” team when we played sports. I was one of the boys.)
There are few others who affected me like Pete and Mr. Jim, as I called him. Mr. Jim was at Ann Kathryn’s graduation from kindergarten, he and “Miss Betty”. Not because of Ann Kathryn, but because their grandchildren are in her class. And it was just as special. It was like having family there.
My daddy, Tom Puccetti, treated me like an adult. At 5 he made me wire my own stereo, I had a dirt bike in the first grade, we’d ride his motorcycle all the way to Meridian where he worked. He would let me drive the tractors at the farm that is now Chemical Waste Mgt in Emelle. He taught me to ride a horse. I think he is the reason I can write, as I would go with him to teach his college English classes. In the fourth grade I would take the exams, sitting up in the corner window. He says I made A’s. I have no idea, but I read every English book he left in the garage when he left after I entered the fourth grade.
Without these influences, I think I might have been one of those gals to “sit on the sidelines”, to not take a risk. I might have been a person without a voice. I might say, whoa, I don’t know where to begin. I would watch them ski, I would be about like when I rolled down the mountain in Vail…not having a CLUE what to do. Too bad mom never had any snow bunny influences in my childhood. I might have been a graceful bunny instead.
Chad and I are making efforts to expose our children to everything we can, so that when they grow up they can become well rounded, adults, not afraid to take chances or “try that again”.
Brent was a natural on snow skis in Breckenridge, Shelton tubes, but we will be sure to put her on the skis at least once. We have no doubt Ann Kathryn will do it all. She tried to get up today on Chad’s feet. She is only 5.
I never want them to look back and say, “Mom, why didn’t you tell us about this?”
So MEN, this is a cry from the little girl inside who was lucky. And yes, we can learn it from our Mama’s, but it sure is refreshing to have a strong figure to look up to.
Blessings and happy Father’s Day to all those who are and who will be a light in a child’s life. We in Alabama have over 600 foster children, and countless others without fathers to believe in. Bored one afternoon? Look into how YOU can be the light in their eyes.
Allison Adams June 2010