Thursday, November 20, 2014

Describe Your Father and Your Relationship with Him

My Pa.  He is tall.

"Lemme 'splain..."

I already know that I will not be able to do my dad justice in one blog post.

"There is too much...lemme sum up..."*

My dad, Retired Air Force Colonel Steven David Acuff, is by all accounts an incredible man.  He loves the Lord with his whole heart and is committed to his relationship with his wife and kids.  He's been married since 1968 to my equally incredible momma.  He's has four kids, two boys and two girls.  He served in the Air Force for 30 years as a C-130 pilot.  He loves:
  • history
  • politics
  • air planes
  • driving
  • traveling
  • talking to people
  • laughing
  • his family
  • John Wayne movies
  • and helping people
just to name a few.

Dad, Mom and Nikki 1971
With Baby Nikki 1970

Easter, 1978 (Baby Betty Anne)
Pilot Dad, Midriff Shirt/Mullet Betty Anne. Yikes.
Reliable ride-giver
Camping Enthusiast
Wood-chopping project supervisor
While growing up, I remember my dad traveling a lot with the Air Force.  When he was home, he would take all of us kids (on bikes) running with him while he trained for one of the four Marine Corps Marathons that he ran.  He taught me that I was built to run.  Or so he told me anyway.  Even when I'm not in the habit of running, I think about it often.  He would help us kids memorize bible verses as he ran.  His faith was (and is) hugely important to him and he imparted that to me and my siblings.  We had devotions in the morning (at the crack of dawn, as I recall) before we all left the house for the day.  He would read something out of the bible to us and each of us got a turn to pray.  I am so very, very grateful for the spiritual guidance and leadership my dad provided in our home.

When I got to high school, it was just me left at home.  My siblings were all in college or no longer living at home.  I didn't love being what felt like an only child.  I missed my brothers and sister!  But it was at this time that my relationship with my dad started to change.  We had a lot of time together, as he was traveling for work less.  We watched Disney movies (Lion King!) together.  He helped me with my paper route every single Saturday when I delivered The Washington Post on base where we lived.  I would hang on to the back of the Ford Explorer, tossing papers to houses as he drove slowly.  If he disapproved of one of my tosses because it wasn't close enough to the person's door, the vehicle would stop.  Because we had a routine, I knew I should just go ahead and go get that last paper I threw and re-position it closer to the door.  The Colonel had standards.

As I applied to colleges and started preparing to leave home, I remember countless conversations about those topics.  I appreciated his input, perspective, and willingness to listen to me.

I highly value how he treats my mother.  He showed me by example, not through words, as I grew up how a husband should treat his wife.  Even in their disagreements I saw each of them be respectful towards one another.

He didn't invent these concepts, but he liked to use them and enforce them:

"If you don't have time to do something twice, do it right the first time."

"Do the right thing even when nobody is watching."

I observed him being a man of integrity in his job, his church and his home life.  Related to the integrity characteristic, he also is a ridiculously hard worker.  You know the type from his generation... they are a breed about to go extinct in this day and age.

When I told my parents about being pregnant with Chloe, my daughter I placed for adoption, he was kind and gracious.  He put her ultrasound picture on his dresser and prayed for her daily.  Watching him with his grandkids now is such an incredibly awesome experience for me.  In my mind, he's superman.  He can change diapers, play outside with them, or squelch a temper tantrum if needed.  He asks James and Reese "Have you ever seen a horse eat an apple?"  They innocently say "No!"  He then proceeds to grab right above their knees and pinch, usually causing them to double over laughing and squirming to get away.  He also asks them if they've ever had a knuckle sandwich (while holding up his fist), but he doesn't follow through on that one. :)

If you didn't/don't have a great relationship with your dad, come talk to me.  I'll see about loaning** you mine because he's pretty awesome.

Pa, I love you dearly and you are not allowed to die until you're 150. Kthx.

*Princess Bride quote

**Fees will apply.

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