papa

a poem for my dad
i might have been confused
about your love at first
all the whiskers, the wrestling -
the working, raw hands were the worst

those dreadful early mornings
when my 'turn' came around
I heard your voice in the stair
and then slowly tumbled down

I climbed upon your lap
no matter what my age
and we sat there together
and together there we prayed

then out to the milking barn,
too tired to complain,
I'd sit on a bucket and you'd ask,
"who's your best friend these days?"

I was a normal, growing girl
all moody and self-involved
and so I want to say I'm sorry
for not seeing your resolve

your persistence to know me
and your love I shrugged off
your interest and encouragement
when others called it a lost cause

thanks for giving pointers
on free throw shots and running form
thank you for attending
every time I would perform

I am sure that I passed over
and looked the other way
when you chose to sacrifice
so my joy could be displayed

I remember those nike shoes
you gave me once for Christmas
I don't know how you got them, but
the miami dolphins colors - delicious

every season with it came
a new thing for us to conquer
unruly bulls, flaming buildings, and

flooding basements almost put us asunder
any moment I've resented you
for punishments or curfews or tempers
is swept away with one small truth
that your love was at the center

in the several years since
I have lived outside your "roof"
I grow ever more thankful
for your tough love and your reproof

not all dads are like you
though many are very fine
I believe that there are very few
who can imitate Christ's love, divine

we are growing now, both me and you
we are struggling steady onward
I just want to say thank you again
for pressing farther in and upward

I never called you papa
though I always wished I could
but I'm alright to call you dad
because our love is understood