In all honesty this is probably one of the more difficult post I will make. Today is Father’s day. And the two men I am thinking about are not my father. My father is practically a stranger to me. I almost feel uncomfortable being around him. That is a truly sad thing to realize.
Let me go back to my childhood. There is one thing I know about my dad and that is, that he is a hard worker. Growing up he always worked several jobs. Hence he was not really around. He went to work early in the morning at the railroad and came home for dinner and then it seemed like most nights he was gone again working gigs with his band. On most weekends he was gone for national guard duty or playing with his band. He was always the disciplinarian. Some nights when he got home I could expect to “bend over and grab my ankles” as he would always say. I don’t remember many family outings. But we always had everything we needed. I didn’t realize it until he was gone that he was Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny. All those things went away when my mom left him. I will never forget the first Christmas after he was gone. He came to pick my sister and I up for a visit. When he arrived he took us out to his car and inside he had our stockings which were as big as us, filled with gifts. He explained that Santa had left them with him. I was about 7 then and I remembered having renewed faith and belief in Santa. He brought that magic back for that small moment.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love my father. I just don’t really feel like I have ever been a significant part of his life. He has never been unkind or unloving just absent. Even now we only speak about once or twice a year. It is not all his fault as the lines of communication run both ways. I guess it has become such a habit that we just don’t make the effort. I just feel sad that he now has three grandsons that don’t know their grandfather.
The next father figure to enter my life was a man who was quite a bit younger than my mom and was still trying to find himself. I don’t think he was ready to be an instant father. He did the best he could. He was an alcoholic and more times than not he was drunk. When he didn’t drink he just tried to fade into the woodwork. When he did drink he would get kind of mean. He never did anything to hurt us kids but he and my mom would get into some pretty nasty fights that scared the crap out of me and my sister. Less than a year after my mom died we parted ways. I lived the rest of my high school years with my best friend and her family.
From then until I got married I hopped around from family to family. Anyone who would take me in. I had a lot of role models as father figures.
The two men who have shown me what a father really is, and who come to mind today is my husband and my father in law.
My husband is the best thing I could have ever done for my children. He was born to be a father. He has such a love and passion for family. He would give his life in a heartbeat for anyone of his children. He makes time for them even when he is really busy. And when he can’t follow his little nightly regimen with them he tries to make it up to them. He is always thinking of them and their welfare. He plays with them and is always making them something. He tries to balance being their friend and being their father. If something were to ever happen to me I have full confidence that Jeff would be able to raise three fine young men on his own. He is a better father than a mother I will ever be.
My father in law is one of the most giving men I have ever known. To most people he may come off as someone without a lot of tact. He says what he thinks. Some may feel that he does it without feeling or regard to other’s feelings. I believe he is misunderstood by people around him. I think that sometimes other’s treat him as if he has no feelings but I know that, that is not the case. However, he wouldn’t let you know that. I have seen a change in him over they years. A softening of sorts. He is a man of good works. If there is a job to do he gets it done. He takes care of his own! And will always lend a helping hand where he can. He is a great example to me. And I appreciate all that he has done for me and am proud to call him dad.
Wishing all the father’s out there a Happy Father’s Day!