Dad's gone now, but I can still picture him as a young man sprinting back and forth across a field trying to get a colorful box kite airborne. Eventually the kite lifts, he lets out the string carefully, then comes over and hands the spool to his 8 yr. old son--so I can fly my kite.
That's fatherhood in a nutshell: Busting your tail to give something of value to your kids.
Dad's last gift to me was allowing me and my wife to care for him in our home during his final months of hospice care. He didn't complain, he didn't make any of it feel awkward. We just did the next necessary thing. There was laughter and teasing, there were frightening falls in the night. We sang "Fly Me To the Moon" at 3 in the morning. He let me feed him and shave him. We quoted Psalm 23 together.
My strong, athletic, kind, funny, intelligent father who had given me everything he was able to give over a lifetime, faded away slowly until all he had left to hand over to me was his trust.
Thank you, Dad. With that kite all those years ago, without knowing it, you connected for me color, light and love. Your playfulness, humor, and generosity live on not only in your kids, grandkids, and great-grandchildren, but also in my paintings.
In loving memory of Donn Slonim (1931-2021).