I've been listening and reading people's accounts of their dads: how grand they were; how loving and understanding they were; how much fun. I am sorta jealous. My own dad was big trouble.
He did not have trouble with cheating; he was absolutely faithful to my mom. The most he had to drink was a beer once in a while with a guys in a lively, little polker game at the Odd Fellows hall on Tuesday night. He could make good money. In fact, money came to him, often by the bucket loads, a gift my brother inherited and I did not.
But he was still trouble. He had muscular dystrophy. Problem enough. My mom died way too early, problem enough. But the clincher was this: there's an opportunity for an Autism diagnosis here. He could swear like a pirate, at awkward times, imperiously so. He could do complex math and map out heavy duty construction projects with nothing more than a stubby pencil and a 2x4. He completely depended upon my mom for love and warmth. Without her he was a cantankerous lost soul, and he didn't care whom he offended or whom he over-powered. He was a tough one. His autism looked like this: he was a brilliant guy with glitches. In his 20s, he was as fine and beautiful a human being as there could be. He was obsessed by odd things at odd times. He read life differently.
Here's what heaven might look like: the people are whole and complete, utterly themselves and utterly normal, healthy, loving, funny. At least when I picture heaven in my mind, this is what I see for my poor dad. His kids have turned out all right. His grandkids are glorious. I have my own glitches, but they are tolerable.
So, here's to all the dads who are somewhat less than perfect. Here's to all the dads who utterly love their kids, somewhat imperfectly. It's enough.