This morning I was sitting in my living room, catching up on social media, listening to my baby babble over the monitor as she woke up from her morning nap, and listening to my husband play acoustic guitar and sing as he celebrated his first Father’s Day on the father side of the deal. I did several of his chores this morning – like feeding and walking the dogs and doing the dishes – and I made him a big breakfast. I also went through the pretense of presenting him with a gift from our 7-month-old daughter, because it’s fun and because he deserves it. Dave is an awesome dad, going the distance as the primary caregiver for M. and the primary caretaker of the house and pets. He sings to her, reads to her, plays with her, and teaches her to do the many things she’s supposed to be learning developmentally. He giggles with her and tickles her and feeds her and comforts her. He is, in short, everything that a father should be and then some. That makes it a lot of fun for me, to try and show him how much he is loved and appreciated, especially on his very first Father’s Day.
It also makes me think about all of the other fathers and father-like figures I have occasion to celebrate today – my own father, of course, but others as well. I know that this day is painful for lots of people because of absent fathers, uncaring or abusive fathers, lost fathers, etc., but I am very blessed to feel joy in my thoughts and memories today. I believe that because I have had such wonderful men as caregivers and role models in my life, I chose a wonderful man as my life partner. So today, here’s a small tribute to some of the fathers and father-like figures I’m celebrating today.
- My Daddy, who is my step-dad but is the man who raised me. He picked me up from school, teased me, laughed with me, learned to love Monty Python with me, went on Girl Scout trips, moved me 400 times…the list goes on. He loves me and has taken care of me, as a child and as an adult. He’s the best Daddy I could have ever wished for, and an outstanding Granddaddy, and I am so lucky to have him.
- My Papa, my mom’s father who lived next door to me while I was growing up, who doted on me and spoiled me and was so hard-working and funny and loving. He made me feel like I was the most important girl in his life and that I could do absolutely anything I put my mind to. I have missed him every single day since we lost him 19 years ago.
- My Chet, Daddy’s father, who was the kindest, gentlest soul I think I’ve ever encountered. He would do just about anything to ease anyone else’s burden, even a stranger’s, and he loved deeply and truly and transparently. He was an amazingly good man. This is our first Father’s Day without Chet, who was my last living grandparent, and while I am so glad he’s no longer suffering and he’s reunited with Grandma again, things just aren’t the same without him.
- My father-in-law, John, who is smart and funny and always eager to help his children. Dave and I have flourished because of his parents’ generosity. He obviously contributed to making my husband the man he is, the man I love so much, and I’m also thankful that M. has such a wonderful grandfather in him.
- My biological father, who I also call Daddy. I haven’t spent a great deal of time around him since I was 5, but I’m pretty sure I got some of my meager musical abilities from him. He also helped to support me financially when I was a child, and my middle name, which I love, is a derivative of his name. Also, his father, who we called Grannypop. I didn’t know Grannypop overly well, but I remember him being softspoken and gentle.
- All of my uncles and great-uncles and cousins who seemed like uncles, even the ones who are no longer family members or who I’m not very close to: Bink, Carlton, Gene, Mike, Keith, Ricky, David, George, Tom, Jack, Allan, Howard, Mickey – all of these men influenced me in a positive way, cared for me at some point and demonstrated in my sight and hearing ways that a man could be admirable and caring and good.
- My closest friends’ fathers, who are all fantastic men, great fathers to my friends and, in many cases, amazing grandfathers to my friends’ children.
- All of our friends and same-age cousins who had children before us and showed me that these goofy, immature, funny boys could turn into still-goofy, still-funny, but slightly more mature and absolutely wonderful fathers. You gave both Dave and me confidence that we could do this parenting thing.
- And obviously, my husband, who amazes me and inspires me and makes me thankful every single day that he is my partner in life and in parenting. I have no doubt that M. will grow up to have positive male role models just like I did, starting with her fantastic Daddy.
So if you don’t have warm fuzzies on Father’s Day, I’m so sorry. Maybe you can borrow some of mine. I have plenty to go around.