Beauty and the Beast

Today, Kristen…my oldest…celebrates her 29th birthday. Can’t believe almost three decades have flown by since they placed her in my arms. She was remarkably calm. I looked at her and she looked at me and that was it, the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Was looking for a picture to send her and found this one, which brought back vivid memories.

Growing up, my dad could be a great guy; but when necessary, also a fearsome creature who struck terror into me and my brother. His years in the WWII Army Air Corps as a B-29 pilot left him with a no-nonsense approach to discipline. When my mom reached her end, she’d leave to find him. Uh oh. Pop would appear with the leather sole of an old workboot, breathing fire. “WHO WANTS IT FIRST?!” he’d shout and BAM! slam the sole onto the counter hard enough to rattle dishes. Our only hope was to immediately shut up and look contrite. As my mom listed our offenses behind him, his glaring gaze would shift between us.

So it was with a sense of amazement I watched this battle-hardened fortress be vanquished by a tiny redhead. Not a vestige of the guy with the workboot remained; in his place was this stranger who’d do silly dances, make ooo-goo sounds and practically stand on his head just to get her to smile. His idea of discipline was to wave away suggestions of bedtime and plunk her into his lap with their favorite book. Makes me wonder how much of the time he was secretly laughing as he played the heavy with Doug and I 🙂

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