Sunday, June 18, 2017

Fathers

Today is Father's Day and it brings with it a bundle of mixed feelings for me.

I didn't have a great relationship with my own father. I think I was a disappointment to him. He never seemed to be happy with me and never showed any affection toward me so it wasn't an easy relationship. I loved him, but not with the intense emotion that most people have for their fathers, that was clear to me. I envied my friends when I was growing up because they all seemed to adore their own dads and those feelings were clearly reciprocated, and that was something I didn't have.

When I married, one of the most important things I looked for in a husband was someone who would be a great father to my children. I wanted for my own kids what I didn't have: a father to play catch with in the back yard, a father who wanted to be there for all their events and special moments, a dad who adored them and returned their love in equal measure. And I found someone who I knew would do and be all those things. He was a great dad.

When one of my kids had a sporting event, he would find the way to take off work and be there. When we had teacher conferences, he was there. When I needed help with transportation to various events because we had four kids and they were often going in different directions, he was willing and able to help. We talked early in our relationship about how family was more important than work and he always chose his children over his job. And I loved that about him.


When I discovered last year that his life was not quite what I thought it was, that he wasn't exactly the person I thought I knew, I was shaken to the core, just as were my children. This wasn't the man we thought we'd known all these years. As with all of us, he had feet of clay, and in this case it was devastating. Sadly, it eclipsed much of the good he had done as a father and my kids have understandably changed in their feelings toward him. And that makes me sad. Because whatever he did in his life, he was exactly what I wanted when I married him: a great father. So today I honor him and thank him for being the kind of dad I wish I'd had all those years ago when I was young. And even as an adult. Because I could have used someone like that in my life. Especially during years like this one.... 

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