When father’s day rolls around I’m reminded of the great men in my life. Because I didn’t have my blood father around, I typically found myself wondering what makes for a great Dad. When those Hallmark commercials started playing around the first of June, there would always be this ideal father. I often wondered, what makes a great Dad. Years later, I understand that a great Father doesn’t need to be blood to be a great Dad.
I met my Step-Father when I was just 9 years old. He talked funny (he was from Texas). He loved the idea of family but given the recent break-up of mine, I was reticent to trust much less even think about forming a new family. The more I pushed away, the more he tried to be a Dad. I didn’t get it, I didn’t like it.
As I entered my teen years I started to realize that this man who tried desperately to be a good “Dad” was honest in his intention and his love completely unconditional. Yet, I struggled with letting him in. He did terrible things like forcing me to go to church, becoming aware of being less selfish, forcing me to go to family gatherings and the worst of all, sitting me down to talk about boys. THE NERVE!
He was there with my first heartbreak and my first real love and ultimately, my wedding. He was there when my first child was born, and for the other three that followed. He has never missed my birthday or my children’s. He flew up for every one of my child’s graduations, despite the expense, the timing or his health issues.
On this Father’s Day I look back and can’t imagine how he withstood my distance to his fatherly efforts. I can’t imagine how it must have hurt him when he’d refer to me as his daughter and I would clarify that I wasn’t his “real” daughter. How terrible of me to misinterpret his protection for smothering. Of course as the years have passed, my children have grown, I understand all too well that he was simply doing what all good Dad’s do, loving his daughter without expectation, without condition, honest, innate paternal love.
So here it is, Father’s Day. I’ll be calling him shortly and wishing him a Happy Father’s Day. I will thank him for all that he’s meant to me and all that he gave up for me. After I hang up from my call, I’ll be reminded that not everyone is so lucky with the father’s in their life or their step-Father’s. But in retrospect, if I would have had the choice to pick my father, I can’t imagine a better choice.
Happy Father’s Day Grandpa Jim. Thanks for being an incredible Dad and Grandpa. We love you!!
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!