Today, we honor the man who was our dad, Allen Spencer. If a daughter is always a Daddy’s girl, then my dad was very blessed to say that he had five Daddy’s girls. I’m sure that five daughters didn’t seem so much like a big blessing while waiting to get into the bathroom to shave in the morning, but Dad never let that bother him. While he truly was more of a night person, he faithfully dragged himself out of bed early every morning so he could get ready for work, before his five daughters descended upon the single bathroom in our home. I truly think that, for our dad, it never mattered that he had just daughters. He loved all his girls, including Mom, Collene Spencer, of course, more than anything in the world. We were all the princesses of his castle and Mom was the queen. Of course, we thought Dad was the greatest too, so it made for a very happy castle. It as home and it was the happiest home in the world, because we had the best parents.
Dad was always able to see the solution to a problem, rather that getting caught up in the problem itself. I remember countless times, in my school days, before things somehow clicked in my brain, when I was struggling, and Mom would get very upset about it. She wanted us to do good in school, and to her it seemed that we weren’t trying. Her threat was always, “Wait until your dad gets home!!” Now, that was the one thing that would put fear in us. Not that my mom couldn’t spank, but it always seemed worse when it was Dad…or maybe it was the fear of the unknown…wondering if I had crossed a line that would be my doom!! Then, when Dad got home, he was told about the grade we had or the class we weren’t doing well in, and invariably, he would say, “Well, I guess we are going to have to work on this.” What?? That was it?? Yes, that was it, and I would live to mess up another day. We never failed a class. Dad could always somehow make us understand the subject that was giving us the problem, and we would at least get a C in the class. I wonder where I would have been in school, had it not been for him. Suddenly in 9th grade, it all clicked in my brain, and my Dad got a break from the struggle, unless my younger sisters had the same issues I did. As I said, Dad was a problem solver, and I’m pretty sure that my mom greatly depended on him to solve any of the problems they had in life. He handled every problem with great ease, and that is why they were such a good team. Mom focused more on the little things, and Dad saw the big picture.
There have been so many times in the years since his passing that I have wished that I could go to him for advise. He would have always known just what to do, and it saddens me to know that I can’t go to him, as I know that it does my sisters. Dad always knew how to put the humor back in a situation, and bring the sunshine to a cloudy day. I know that he and Mom, and the other family members are having a great celebration today for his birthday, but then again, there is always a celebration going on in Heaven, so maybe it is just another day. Nevertheless, for us, Daddy’s Girls, today is a very special day…our dad’s 94th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Daddy. We love and miss you very much.
With our mom, Collene Byer Spencer spending her birthday in Heaven this year, my sisters, our families, and I have had much time to reflect on the years of our lives, our loving parents, and sadly the loss of our parents. These past nine years have held more twinges of sadness and loss that we ever expected or wanted to feel. We know where our parents are, of course, and that makes the pain of their loss easier to bear, but there is still an emptiness that fills our hearts and lives, because they are not with us here on Earth anymore. Last night’s New Years Eve party went pretty much as we expected it to go. We were able to push back our feelings pretty well, until midnight, when our traditional Happy New Year hugs took place, and our Happy Birthday Mom song didn’t, because it couldn’t. We could barely talk with the lump in our throats, much less sing Happy Birthday, when she wasn’t there. Nevertheless, she was in our hearts and our thoughts, as was our dad, Allen Spencer. They will live there always, until we see them again.
Since Mom’s passing, we have been going through their things, and especially pictures. We have been overjoyed by some of the old pictures that had never been developed. I especially found the ones of Mom’s birthday in 1964, when our youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock was almost one year old, to be an amazing find. There we were, all Mom’s daughters, gathered around her, as she held her birthday cake. Dad always treated her like a queen, and us as his little princesses. For Mom, that meant things like a two day party for her birthday, simply because it fell on New Years Day. At our house, New Years Day was as big a celebration as New Years Eve was…because Dad’s queen was born that day, and it was just icing on the cake that it was also a national holiday.
Those birthdays, when we were children, were most likely the most precious ones for our parents, because we didn’t work yet, had no boyfriends, and no place else we had to be. They were family days, to be cherished and remembered always. Now that they both live in Heaven, those cherished pictures, and the memories they provide, are even more precious than they were when we were little. It’s a funny thing, time. What you took for granted as children, now stands out as some of the best days of your life. I know that for my sisters and me, nothing could have been sweeter than just one more New Years Eve party with our parents, and of course, that statement would continue to dominate our thoughts for the rest of our lives, because we would love to have just one more moment with our parents, and one more, and one more. It is never enough, nor could it ever be. That is what makes us so thankful for the eternity to come, when we will all be together again, forever and ever, in Heaven, where sadness does not exist and every face wears a smile.
The echoes of New Years Eve parties past, birthday parties past, and…just lives now past, will always linger in our thoughts and hearts. We can’t go back to those times, except in our own memory files, and I suppose that is what makes all these pictures so precious. They are the memories of the wonderful life our parents gave us, and of the things we are grateful for as this new year, the first with no parents on Earth begins. The legacy of all they gave us will always be with us, as will their memories. Today would have been Mom’s 80th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Mom!! I know this day, like all others in Heaven will be filled with wonder, joy, and love beyond our wildest imaginations. We love and miss you very much!!
They say that when a girl picks a man to be her husband, she often picks a man who is much like her dad. It isn’t maybe a conscious thing, but it seems to be a fact anyway. Maybe it’s because for a girl, their dad always makes them feel like a princess, so it can be hard to move away from that when you get married. I think to a degree, most girls pick someone similar to their dads, because that is the first male influence on their lives, but it would sure seem that, my sister, Alena Spencer Stevens came the closest of any I’ve ever seen when she married her husband, Mike Stevens. I don’t know if she saw the similarities back then, but I doubt it, because I don’t think most girls choose a husband based on that similarity, but she definitely sees it now. Mike is a lot like Dad in his work ethic, the type of work he can do, and in his mannerisms and temperament. They are even similar in their looks!
Alena loves to do many of the recreational things that our dad loved to do, such as camping and fishing, and she loves to sit around a campfire, so much so, that she and Mike were the first in our family to buy a backyard fire pit. That is very Dad like. I suppose that being Dad like is one of the main reasons that Alena would choose a man who is much like Dad to be her husband, because that is the type of person she is most comfortable with.
Alena is a very soft hearted person, and like Dad, she doesn’t like to see people being picked on, unless of course, it is in fun, and then she would prefer to be the one doing the picking, rather than being picked on…but then, wouldn’t we all. Alena is pretty good at playing practical jokes too. In fact, she has been since she was a little girl. She pulled enough pranks on the rest of us over the years, that we learned to be pretty watchful of her. It was the best way to defend yourself. Her favorites were, of course, the ones where the rest of us ended up scared, so she could laugh at us for being a chicken…I wonder why, when we thought someone was breaking in when Mom and Dad weren’t home and it was midnight or so. Good job Alena!! Today is Alena’s birthday. Happy birthday Alena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My parents had 5 daughters…and no sons. I’m sure that the early years were the same as they are in most homes, but with each additional daughter came a little less control for my dad. Now don’t get me wrong on that word control, because my dad was the boss. If we got to be too exasperating for Mom, her big threat was Dad, and while Dad rarely had to spank us, just knowing that he would was enough to make is behave ourselves.
The type of control I’m talking about is a little different. Being the only man in a houseful of women, especially when there are 5 daughters, means being seriously outnumbered. Imagine vying for the bathroom…and we had only 1 by the way…against 5 teen and preteen aged girls trying to get ready for school. I’m sure you get the picture. If Dad wanted a shower, he had better get it before 5:00 am, or he was most likely out of luck. And if he needed to use the bathroom…well, it might be easier to go somewhere else, or should I say quicker.
These kinds of things continued for most of Dad’s life. He always had to be the one to kill the bugs…especially the moths, which put his little princesses into screaming fits, instantly. We made him get up in the middle of the night while camping to “put another log on the fire” to keep the bears away…never mind the fact that we were inside, and the bears couldn’t get us anyway. I’m quite sure he watched more chick flicks than he ever wanted to as well. Nevertheless, Dad took it all in stride, allowing his girls to feel like princesses…with chores, of course…but still princesses. He gave in to the girlie side of his girls, and probably spoiled us pretty good. The house was filled with dolls and kitchen sets, tea sets, and cribs…all the things we needed to play house.
Later came the waiting on us to finally get ready so we could go somewhere, because we all know that it is impossible to leave the house without our makeup…and I mean it!! Dad knew quite well, that he might just as well sit down and read the paper, because he would have time to read the whole thing. I am reminded of the Brad Paisley song, “Waitin’ On A Woman” when I think of all the times my dad waited patiently for his girls to all get ready.
When there is one person, male or female, who happens to be the only person of that gender in their household, and they find themselves seriously outnumbered, yet they manage to keep their wits about them, I can’t help but think back on everything we put my dad through over the years. It occurs to me that they might just be a saint…or else they have just resigned themselves to the inevitable.