Father’s Day is a holiday that is harder for me since my dad and my father-in-law have gone to Heaven. Nevertheless, I feel very honored to have had the dads that I did. Both of my dads, Allen Spencer and Walt Schulenberg, were both men of honor, of whom we were all able to be so proud. They loved their families unconditionally, and we were so blessed to know them. I know they are both in Heaven now, and very happy. While we miss them, they are both doing so well, and are living in their reward. I can just picture them now…smiling, happy, well, and strong. I couldn’t ask for anything more for them.
As to Father’s Day…well, it has taken on a new meaning these days. Now, after thinking about the dad’s who aren’t with us, my thoughts center on the dads that are in my life today…my husband, Bob Schulenberg; sons-in-law, Kevin Petersen and Travis Royce; and my grandson, Chris Petersen. All of the dads who are still with us are wonderful men, who love their families deeply. Their children are their greatest blessings. They are all great dads. The one thing I have noticed about these men is the different parenting styles. They are different, but all great dads, and in the end, they all have one thing in common. They love their families. No family could ask for anything more, because they already have the very best.
Life is hectic, whether these guys are retired or working. They are busy and yet they still find time to be there for the people they love. They are always doing things that make the lives of their families better. Each of these men are talented in different ways, and it is those talents that have blessed their families so much. Each was unique, and yet very special in their own ways, but each has endeared himself to me because of their special talents. I love the way they have enriched the lives of me, my kids, grandkids, and great granddaughter. I couldn’t ask for better men for any of us. Happy Father’s Day to the dads in my life, and to all the dads out there.
I remember getting my first camera. I was probably 6 years old at the time. Once I got it, I was almost never without it. I can’t say that I took the greatest pictures in those days, but what I can say is that I was often behind the camera rather than in the pictures. That had its good and bad points to it. The good thing was that I took pictures of the things that held an interest to me. The bad part was that often, I wasn’t in the pictures. I had never really given much thought to that until we began looking for pictures to use in the slide show for my dad’s funeral. It was hard to find some of me with my dad. I felt quite sorry about that. in the end, we found enough pictures, but I started thinking about the years ahead. I knew that I needed to do something different.
Being a photographer is a wonderful thing, and I will always love to be a photographer, but I have learned that the photographer sometimes has to relinquish the camera and be in the picture. If you never do that, it’s hard for anyone to know that you belong to the group being photographed. While that isn’t always a problem, there are times in life when it is a problem…such as the time I mentioned before. Nevertheless, in my opinion, it is great fun to be the photographer. When I see the pictures taken by other photographers, I get great ideas for shots I want to take myself. Of course, there are just pictures that happen, and no planning could make them any better than the shot you got almost by accident. Personally, I love taking wildlife pictures, with birds in flight being at the top of my list. Those are among the most difficult to take. The birds are moving so fast that by the time you get the camera ready and focused, the birds are long gone. It is a type of shot that takes lots of practice, but one that is very rewarding once you succeed.
It’s strange to think that the hardest lesson for a photographer to learn can be to make sure you get in a few of the pictures yourself. You would think that would just be second nature to someone who knows the value of pictures. I’ve never felt like I am very photogenic, and maybe that is why I don’t feel such a need to be in the pictures, but after many years as an amateur photographer I realize what a folly that is. Good, bad, or ugly, I needed to be in a few of those shots.
As another Father’s Day arrives, I find myself feeling less and less a part of the day. Yes, my husband, Bob and my sons-in-law, Kevin and Travis are here, and for them we will celebrate the day to honor them, but my dad and my father-in-law are both gone, and so this day also feels a little empty to me. I really miss my dad, and my father-in-law. Both of these men were so inspirational to me in my life, and I still miss their advise, their smiles, and their ideas about things…but mostly I just miss being able to talk with them. I can’t count the number of times I have wanted to call one of them up, and for a second, I almost forget…then reality sets in…they are in Heaven now.
Having taken care of both of these men in their last years, I feel like we had a bond that not many children are given. When you spend a lot of time with someone, you get to know them very well. You know their habits, their sense of humor, the things that annoy them, and the things that make them happy. For both my dad and my father-in-law, nothing is more important than their family. They always wanted their family around them. It gave them great pleasure to know that their children loved them and wanted to be around them. I find myself thinking every day of each of them, and feeling very blessed to have had them in my life for so many years. My only regret is that they are no longer in my everyday life, like they were.
As I think about their great influence on Bob and me, I realize that had our dads not been in our lives, we would not be the parents and grandparents we are today. It was their love for us that taught us how to love our children, and then we passed that on down to our children. They were not our friends growing up, but rather, just what they should have been…our dads. They became our friends later in life. They, along with our moms, disciplined us, trained us, and in doing so, they taught us how to do the same for our children. They taught us how to live in this world, taught us our work ethic, and our love of God and country. Their sense of humor, taught us to take joy in life and not to allow depression and despair to enter into our lives. What a great tribute to them and our moms that all their children grew up and became responsible adults, who do the right things in life. I thank God for them and for my husband, Bob, and my sons-in-law, Kevin and Travis…all of whom are wonderful caring dads, who have blessed us with their love and wisdom. Happy Father’s Day to all of you!!
Little boys want so much to be just like their daddy. They want to do whatever their daddy is doing. Most times they aren’t much help until they are older, but if their dads don’t let them help when they are little, they most likely won’t want to when they are older. It is a challenge for those dads to find suitable jobs for those little boys though. Sometimes all they can do is point to a tool so they can get it for them. It would be much easier for that dad to do the job himself, but that would break his little boy’s heart, and he can’t have that. Of course, as those little boys eventually learn the ropes, and they can become pretty good hands, if they still want to help by that time. A kid with a little training, can learn to figure out complex problems, but a kid with no training, will have a much harder time. So, a good dad will let their little boys help out so they can learn, even if it would be easier to do it themselves, and even if their little man gets annoying at times.
Bob’s dad, my father-in-law, had two sons, and while I can’t say how Bob was as a helper when he was as a little guy, I do remember that Ron, while probably the same as Bob, was a bit of a trial. The men needed to get things done, and yet here was Ron…wanting to help. Bob was born 14 years before Ron, so by this time he and his dad worked very well together. Ron just wanted to be like his dad and his big brother. They tried to let him help as much as possible, but some of the work they were doing was too dangerous for Ron, and some of it was too complex. I’m sure it was frustrating for Ron, and the times I witnessed, I think it probably hurt his feelings some too. That made me feel bad, but then his dad would find a job to do that Ron was able to help with, and that made things a whole lot better.
As the years went by, both of the boys became their dad’s right hand man, excelling in different kinds of work at different times in his life. He very seldom had to hire work done, because if he couldn’t do it, his boys probably could. In fact, the three of them, along with grandsons Barry, JD, and Eric were usually more than enough to get any job done. Yes, even if training the littlest helpers can be frustrating at times, it usually ends up being the best move you can make.
There’s just something about watching old home movies…I mean the really old ones…from when you were kids, that is not only funny, but enlightening. While watching some old home movies from Bob’s family, one thing that I have noticed is that there are lots of people who don’t know how to act when they are being filmed. Some of them get nervous or embarrassed. They try to hide from the camera. Some people even get mad about being filmed, and what I found really funny about that is that one of those people who got mad, was Bob’s sister, Jennifer!! And she was only about 3 years old at the time. Even at that young age, she didn’t like being filmed, and she was clearly telling the person behind the camera just that. She tried to go in the house, but couldn’t open the door, so she turned around and started shaking her finger at the camera, and the look on her face clearly told the story…”I am not in the mood to have you film me!!”
Brenda, on the other hand, at just 1 year old, didn’t mind being filmed at all, because she was just too busy learning to walk. She toddles toward the camera with a great big smile on her face. Clearly she has no idea that she is being filmed. All she knows is that she love the camera’s operator. Like all kids who are learning to walk, Brenda takes a few unsteady steps and the plops down on the ground. The she gets back up and tries it again. At one point, Jennifer who has decided that helping her sister is more important than not wanting to be filmed, decides to help her little sister learn the walking ropes. She is learning that being filmed isn’t so bad after all, because she smiles and even poses for the camera.
A little later in the movies, the youngest child, Bob’s brother, Ron arrives. Everyone is so excited about having a baby in the family again, and everyone wants to hold him. He is passed back and forth from sibling to sibling, being a good sport about it all. Maybe that is where he got the nickname he carried for all the years I have known him…Sport. I suppose, being the youngest child, and having four older sisters, one might have to be a good sport just to survive, because as we all know, big sisters can be very bossy.
The children aren’t the only ones who don’t know exactly how to take the whole filming event either. Moms and dads, aunts and uncles, and even grandparents, dodge the camera, tying to hide behind anything form the house to the clothesline pole, and one person even slapped at the person trying to get her into the picture. How funny that these days we take self portraits with our cell phones, and when someone is filming a video, we start everything from posing to dancing to making faces. I guess we have come a long way since those early old home movies days.
When little boys get a new toy, it seems inevitable that the dads, uncles, big brothers, and even grandpas are going to help the little boy play with the new toy…especially if the toy is a cool one, like a truck with moving parts, a crane , or something cool like that. Sometimes the big boys help so much that the little boys hardly get to play at all. It seems like when girls grow up and get done playing with toys, they don’t tend to go back to them as readily…not so with men. Those toys always have their draw for men.
The funny thing about toys is that sometimes, the little boys get almost pushed aside so the big boys can play with the toys. Or better yet…it must be time for a nap right. Oh they’ll never admit it, but boys toys are pretty hard for the big boys to resist…especially considering the fact that the toys these days are more cool that when we were kids.
As boys get older, the toys do cost more but the reality is that they are still toys. Women think of a car as transportation, men have to know all the inner workings and how it all works. Oh, I know that there are exceptions to the rule. There are women mechanics and men who don’t care about how a car works, but there are still toys that big boys have. And, the types of toys are as varied as the boys.
And sometimes, The little boys don’t even have to be around with their toys for two big boys to decide to act like little boys again. On a snowy day when they are done with their work, or maybe just tired of it, a child’s sled can and a strong son-in-law can make for a great big boys toy. And if the little boys come out and want to play…well, you just tell them the same thing you told them when they first learned to play. If you had it first, you don’t have to give it up, so…seriously…we had it first!! Go find your own toys to play with.
Yep, the funny thing about boys is that they never really grow up. They might get bigger, and the toys might get more expensive, but that does not mean that they won’t want to play anyway. Boys will be boys. And boys will always have their toys.