Father Figure

20130615-081143.jpgAva thinks I need a new hairstyle…

If you were to line the holidays up in order of how they rank, I’m thinking Father’s Day is down the list somewhere. Let’s see…you have Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Day, Arbor Day, Flag Day, National Day Of Silence, a couple of days that nobody remembers except my IPad calendar aaaaaaaand….then Father’s Day. Does this bother me? Not really.

I mean…for me, being a father is the single most important thing I have ever done. I can’t think of any one single thing that I could ever do that is more important than me being a good dad for my kids. It’s why I’m here. In the grand scheme of things, giving my kids the best home that they can have is the highest priority of anything else I do. This means being there to help them when they need it. Being there to love them when they need it. It means being as supportive as I can, guiding them through their early life, allowing them to make mistakes but keeping the fallout to a minimum so as not to destroy their confidence.

I read about how important a father figure is in a family. You always hear the horror stories of children raised in fatherless families. It’s a tough gig, being a dad. I know there have been times that I’ve wanted to run screaming because there is a lot of pressure in this job! And it’s not like it used to be where the dad is the head of the family who works all day, comes home, eats dinner, reads the paper and calls it a night. That doesn’t happen anymore. This gig has expanded to include helping with household chores, putting the kids to bed, taking junior to baseball practice, making sure mom gets to her hair appointment on time, volunteering free time for football games, etc and so forth. So now there is always the side that says, “Well a mother has to….(insert list here)” and they’d be right. Being a mom is THE toughest gig on the planet, no doubt about it. But we all recognize that. Being a good father often times goes unnoticed. We sit in Mom’s shadow, keeping quiet, watching and waiting. We wait for the moment when a son wants to throw a ball or when a daughter wants to do our hair. We wait for when a knee gets scratched and mom’s not home. We wait for when there’s no milk in the house so we can make a dash for the grocery. We wait and we learn and we try to be the best we can be without becoming intrusive. And now that I’m a father…I realize it’s time to give my Dad some credit.

Sometimes being a dad is a tough gig. As far as nurturing goes, nothing can replace mom. She is the butter on the bread. However, I would like to think a dad plays an important role in many other ways that a mother cannot. Despite the fact that I’ve always said that I am a momma’s boy, I watch my Dad today and I listen to how he talks, how he thinks and who he is as a person and I realize just how much of him is who I am. The way he is taught me how to be respectful, how to handle the pressure of being a man, how to be aware of my surroundings and know when I need to step up my game. The way he is has taught me how to be a better person, not just a better father, and for that I can never thank him enough. My Dad has always been supportive (he came to every game), encouraging (as in THIS situation that I wrote about a few years ago) and protective. He is the greatest man a growing boy could have asked for as a father and I think it’s high time I paid him his due.

So here I go…

Dad, I would like to thank you for being there for me all of my life. 44 years in and never once have you let me down. I just want to say that I appreciate all that you have given me. From you I get my conscience, my confidence, my integrity and a vision of what it takes to be a great father. I have a good head on my shoulders and a sense of responsibility. I just want to thank you for that and when I see how far I’ve come down this path of life and how well all the other kids in our family are doing, all I can say is…you did a great job! Happy Father’s Day, Dad! Looking forward to seeing you next week!

-Your son


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