Growing up, my dad was consistently a member of “the clean plate club”. It was a title that he claimed with much pride. Many times, I was also a member of the “clean plate club” due to his eating the food off of my plate. In fact, my father ate the food off of our plates so often we coined the term “plate poaching.”
“Plate poaching” is when you take food off someone else’s plate either without their permission or when they are not looking. Sometimes I was happy my dad would plate poach, less vegetables for me, or sometimes he’d take something I really wanted to eat. Either way, plate poaching was a standard at our meals and my dad was the king.
It wasn’t until recently did I realize I came to depend upon my dad’s “plate poaching”. My dad didn’t just take food off of my plate, he took responsibility off of my plate. In the name of love, he did for me things I could have done for myself. In a round about way, I learned that I didn’t have the inner resources to take care of everything on my plate. Often, I could become overwhelmed with a task and poof, he’d fix it.
Recently, I have been experiencing a lot of grief around my dad no longer being around. Through the help of various people that God has placed on my path I have been given an opportunity to look a little deeper at these feelings. My first instinct was to say that I didn’t know why I was missing my dad so much. Then, I claimed I was going through a lot of stuff that my dad would help me out with and that is true but it is not the truth.
The truth is my dad was my rescuer. If I had too much on plate, real or imagined, he’d poach it from me without even asking. I came to depend on my dad softening life for me without me having to ask for what I need. He could fix me and my situations sometimes before I knew they were broken.
The gift my dad is now giving me is learning how to ask for what I need. In reality, no one person can do it alone. We were designed to live in community, to share each other’s burdens. The catch is, I have to ask for what I need and the one I ask has a right to say “yes” or “no”.
I miss my dad everyday. Rarely does the grief overcome me but sometimes years later it still does. My dad was such an amazing father and he taught me so many beautiful life lessons while he was alive. The gift of this loving relationship is that he is now teaching me a whole new set of lessons in his absence.