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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dear Dad ...

I shared a picture on Facebook today and I'll share it here with you all as well:
My dad was quite devoted to his family, and he was a good man. I would go so far as to say that he was a great man. He passed away when I was young so I honestly didn't see any of the faults that may have been under the service. He was quiet, patient, loving, and kind. As a little girl, that's all I could have wanted. He spent time with me and loved me unconditionally. He listened to me and protected me. Looking back, I totally get all that. He had wanted to be a father and waited nearly 50 years to have a child. He had every reason to be smitten with me.

Here's what I don't get about parenting (and this is not a complete list, because I truly don't understand the absent and abusive parents, the unloving parents, etc... but that's not what this is about) - I don't get how someone can be as devoted as my dad was to me, to children that aren't theirs. My hat goes off to all the step parents out there, because you are selfless and amazing! My husband in particular just shocks me with his ability to love. My children were 1 and 2 when we met and my husband, Mark, treats them with as much love, patience, and compassion that my dad showed to me. He would protect them with his life, never refers to them as step-children or his wife's children, and he goes without things to make sure that they are cared for. I would like to think I would do that if the shoe was on the other foot, but I'm not sure. He holds hands and wipes tears, he comes to school conferences, helps with homework, wipes snotty noses, ties shoes, brushes teeth, and sacrifices sleep for the sake of these children.

I am in awe - and if I had a mailing address for my own father (up in heaven), this is the letter I would write to him:

Dear Dad,

I cried when you weren't here to walk me down the aisle, but I know that you would have been honored to present me to my husband. Mark is every bit the man, husband, and father that you were. I know that God put him in my life for a reason, and I know you would be proud. I miss you every day, but please know that I am in good hands and that your grandchildren and being taken care of by someone who is as great a daddy as you were to me.

Your Little Girl

In closing - to all the Dads out there: don't underestimate your influence. Regardless of the circumstances that placed you in your role as dad, please know that it is the most important job you'll ever have.

May your paths be abundantly filled with lemons, sugar, sunshine, and the love of family.