You were rarely the one to dry my tears. But I know you dried Mom’s after she dried mine. I went running to Mom when I was hurt or sick. But you ran out to get the prescriptions and the Gatorade. You let Mom read me book after book to fall asleep, never rushing her and in turn, never rushing me.
You may have taken a backstage parenting role throughout phases of my life, but the show certainly would not have gone on without you. You made the show. As I have grown up and become a parent myself, I can see with more clarity just how pivotal you were in helping me grow.
You never missed a soccer game. You let our house be a hub for my friends in my teenage years. Always supplying snacks, gum, and pop—never seeming to care that the noise level rose substantially when the friends descended.
When your patience was tested, you didn’t falter. When you were overwhelmed, you always made my trivial problems seem more important than yours.
You were gone at work while Mom took care of us, but don’t think your unwavering love and support weren’t noticed or felt. In the times I clung to Mom, you grounded her so she could be what I needed her to be. You provided for us so I never lacked anything.
You answered countless phone calls giving me directions before I held a GPS in my pocket. You refused to tell me to turn left or right and insisted instead that I head north or south. I see now that this was an exercise in patience, and it did eventually teach me how to navigate and find my way, not only on the road but as I find my way through life.
You juggle work and family, and yet somehow, it wasn’t until my adult years that I ever had any grasp on the fact that perhaps work was sometimes stressful. You never complain. I don’t think I’ve ever heard you speak ill of other people. You are always quick to note that we just don’t know what others are dealing with.
I sat and wondered what on earth I could give you for Father’s Day. You have the means to buy what you need and want. You are generous beyond measure. You share your gifts with us in picking up dinner tabs, covering expensive car repairs, providing childcare so we can have date nights, often slipping some cash into our pockets to further fund said nights. I’ve run out of ideas of what to get the man who has everything.
And then I turned inward and wondered what I will want for Mother’s or Father’s Day when my children are grown. When the days of hand-painted pots, beaded bracelets, and noodle picture frames will be behind me. I hope we’ll be able to bless our kids in the way you’ve blessed us. And I think what I’ll want most of all will be to know my kids are happy and that they will think I have done a good job as their parent.
So this year, I wanted to be very clear and tell you that you have done an incredible job. I have a life I love. I feel safe and protected knowing you are near. The world doesn’t seem so overwhelming because you raised me to be strong and to know there is never a time or a situation when you will not be in my corner. In a world full of chaos and hate, you, Dad, are a light.
I know, or at least I think, I’ve come to know the fullness of your love for me. And what a gift it is to be loved by you.
Here’s to you, Dad. I love you.