The first house I really remember living in was a small house in Valley View, TX. That is not the Valley View near Dallas, but the one near Iowa Park. Craig and I shared a room just off of the kitchen. My dad would get up early and drink coffee there in the kitchen. I guess Craig and I could hear him, because we would get up early with him. Sometimes I would make little squeaky noises so that Dad would know I was awake, and he would come carry me to the kitchen table and fix my milk/coffee with lots of sugar. I cannot remember if Craig did this too, but it was the beginning of my being a "daddy’s girl".
We lived in lots of different houses while I was growing up that made being carried to the table impossible, but still I came every morning. As soon as Mom could scrape my hair into a ponytail, Dad would then take me and Craig with him where ever he went on Saturday mornings. I guess this gave Mom some needed time alone, but it also established a pattern and relationship between Dad and us kids.
You would think that as we got to be teen-agers that getting up early would lose its appeal, and maybe it did more so for Craig, but still I got up with Dad to have coffee and go rattin around on Saturdays. When Craig played jr. varsity football on Saturday mornings, Dad and I would go watch. After Craig quit football (he was never really big enough for that sort of thing), Dad and I continued to go to the games. Sometimes we would go to junk yards especially when I got an old 63 Chevy pick-up from my grandfather. It needed lots of little parts. Maybe I was afraid to disappoint Dad if I did not go with him. Maybe I was afraid of missing out on something. Those were very special times between Dad and me. We would even hold hands while we walked along. When he walked me down the aisle at my wedding, we chose to hold hands rather than me hold his arm. We just liked that better.
I am sure my brothers and sister could tell of their own special routines with Dad. Kathy certainly had her special routines (the Princess). My brothers had special time with Dad, that us girls did not have, through sports. These little things were a way for Dad to have a relationship with each of us in his busy world of making a living and supporting a family. Dad had more than just four kids; he had schools full of needy children. That made these times extra special, but we had to be willing to meet him part way. That is why I chose to get up early on Saturday morning – it was my special time.
Dad still gets up at the crack of dawn to have his coffee. When any of us kids are at his house, we get up early to have coffee with him (less sugar and milk now). That is just the way it is. The pattern was set a long time ago. If you have never established a relationship (however small) with your children, start one. They last a lifetime.