Father’s Day is complicated for those who don’t have dads, for those who have fathers who have repeatedly disappointed them, and for people like me, whose fathers have died. I’m not sad today, though. I was lucky to have over 30 years with a wonderful dad, and though he’s been gone for nine years now, his influence still colors my life daily.
I see him in my brother’s face.
I sense him in my affinity for dry humor and satire.
I feel him in my keen bullshit meter and my ability to see people in ways they may not want to be seen.
He is responsible for my cynical nature and for the weird hairs that grow on the tip of my nose.
He is with me in the green of my eyes and the wave of my hair.
I miss him, of course. I am sad knowing how much he would have loved seeing my kids and my nephews grow. I miss his calm reasoned look at life, and in this current political climate, I think he would help me feel less lonely in my views and my beliefs. I miss the way his smile started slowly, first in his eyes, and then a twitch in the corner of his mouth. I miss his laugh, a rare, but magical sound.
By his example, my father had a hand in helping me choose my husband. My husband and my father had similar outlooks on life, and they laughed at the same kinds of jokes. They both liked to cook, and they both loved to eat. I knew my then boyfriend would turn into the type of father who would find joy in messing with his kids, and I was absolutely correct in that assumption. I thought he would make me dinner most every night like my dad did, but I couldn’t have been more wrong about that part. Still, you could say I married my father, and you would be correct.
As co-parents, my husband and I make a good team. He is responsible and thoughtful, and I am spontaneous and relaxed. He yells at the kids for me when I’ve lost my voice or my will to live, and I keep the kids quiet on weekend mornings so he can sleep in. Because of our parenting styles our kids have been raised to be able to take a joke, a trait that is crucial to becoming a likeable adult, and thanks to genetics, they’re pretty cute to look at, too.
I’ve been blessed to have many great men in my life, and I honor them today.
My husband, who teamed up with me to create the greatest joys of my life.
My father, who teamed up with my mom to give my brother and me an absolutely lovely childhood, full of laughter, of hugs, and of swimming in cold, mountain water. From them I learned that life is a series of peaks and valleys, but with the distance of time, the valleys look smoother, and the peaks are what we remember.
My brother, who takes my nephews skiing, and camping, and to the beach. He and my sister-in-law are doing a great job of raising a couple of little fun junkies. I love him for being my first friend, for always getting my jokes, and for giving my kids such great memories of visiting his home.
My husband’s father, who died far too young, but whose legacy lives on in some of the most wonderful people I know. I love him for co-creating my all-time favorite person.
My father-in-law, who has never been afraid of a challenge, taking on arguably the biggest task of his life when he married a lady with five kids. His home is now so filled with children and grandchildren at the holidays he literally had to put a cottage out back for the overflow. I love him for inviting me to coffee with the boys, and for sharing his cucumbers with my girl.
My step-father, who is known for his generous spirit. He donates his time, his land, and his energy to bettering his community, his church, and his neighborhood. I love him for making my mom happy, for taking a chance after losing his first love to cancer, and for sending me books he knows I’ll enjoy.
My second dad, Dan. He passionately speaks and lives his faith in a way that can’t be missed. He is a raging river of love for God and church, and spends his free time in prisons and nursing homes, serving the Lord. I love him for fearlessly speaking his truth, for being part of my chosen family, and for maintaining the magnificent pool my kids talk about all year long.
All of the good dads who are married to my friends and to my sisters-in-law. I see the way you throw your kids in the pool as they squeal with glee, and the way you work the grill in 100-degree heat. I watch you mow lawns, and fix bikes, and coach soccer. I see the way you look at your wives with love in your eyes. I watch you pitch tents, and braid hair, and put up basketball hoops. I see you changing diapers and teaching the kids how to play Texas Hold ‘Em, and I see you taking naps, with one hand securely tucked just inside your waistband, exhausted from doing all the quiet, seemingly unnoticed things it takes to maintain a happy household.
We appreciate you, and we love you.
Now please take out the trash.