When I go shopping for a Father’s Day card for my dad, I never go for the mush, long lovey-dovey stuff. But, glancing at all the variety of cards prompts me to think about what my Father means to me. My parents divorced before I could even remember having my Dad home to wake me up or tuck me into bed at night. Even though I saw him regularly growing up, I don’t remember any tucking in or cuddling. When I asked my Mom about it, she tells me he was very attentive and she thinks he’s done a good job. I do too. But, I think I didn’t really understand the depth of relationship a daughter can have with her father until we had our own daughter. My husband’s relationship with our 3-year-old girl really tugs at my heart.
I am grateful that my father has chosen to be in my life. That he has chosen to show up and be a part of my life is sadly unusual for divorced families. I’ve seen closely the ache absent father’s leave in their child’s hearts. So, Dear Fathers, those of you who choose to show up and be an active part of your child’s life have my utmost respect. I think that a Father is uniquely qualified for the job even if he doesn’t have a four-year-degree or hasn’t taken parenting classes.
Around our neighborhood playgrounds, I’ve met several Stay At Home Dads, and they always fascinate me. I want to thank all active Fathers – you are filling a role no one else can.
The very best compliment I have ever been given was by a Father named Keith. We met during a 10 day Mission Trip to Honduras. We built houses for Refugees of Hurricane Mitch in 2000. It was a grueling, heart wrenching experience. During our goodbyes to the native team members and each other, Keith shed not one tear. He shook hands with folks instead of embracing everyone in hugs. He was a calm, steady guy who came on the trip with his wife and two teen age boys. After I hugged his wife good-bye, I looked at him and tried to decided if I should hug him or not. He gave me a short quick hug and said, “If I had a daughter, I would want her to be just like you.” To this day, his compliment makes my eyes get all teared up.
Thank you, Fathers everywhere, for filling your integral role in raising future generations.