Sunday, June 19, 2011
It's Dad's Day!
I love this quote. It is so true! My dad and my husband definitely fit the “someone special” category as they are both my heroes. My dad is the type of man who doesn’t ask for much and would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He’s always been there for me when I need sound advice and disciplined me when I needed to get back on track. As our family’s Mr. Fix-It, he is the one I call when I need help fixing something with the house or our vehicles. The fact that he and my husband are great friends is a wonderful bonus! This leads me to my husband, Dennis, who is an incredible example and a wonderful father to our children. He works very hard and even though he works long hours, he never fails to spend quality time with our kids. He doesn’t hesitate to play video games, go to the pool, drive to a museum, or just hang out at home. As long as we’re spending time together as a family, that’s all that matters. I am very blessed to have these two amazing men in my life!!
So many things make up a wonderful Dad, but I think the one trait all great Dads have in common, other than love, is spending time with your child. I witnessed this just last week while on our beach vacation. My husband and I have two boys, both of whom love to have their father's attention. While we were at the beach, my husband Doug made sure to give each child their own time with Dad. Whether it was throwing the ball over and over and over again with our oldest child or sitting for an hour making sand turtles and castles with our youngest son, Doug made sure each child received some one on one time. I know the boys appreciated it and could feel their father's love in his actions. I know I will treasure the memory!
What makes a man become a good father? Is instinctual or is it taught? Nature or nurture? My father and husband are perfect examples of how both can be true. My father had a less than ideal childhood. His mother died when he was just a toddler and his father was not a very stable person, so my father spent his formative years living in various foster homes and later living with his maternal grandparents. Needless to say, he did not have a positive role model to follow when it came to being a father, but for him it must have been instinctual. He was very involved with us when we were growing up: giving us piggy back rides to bed, taking us swimming, teaching us to love watching football (hey, we were all girls, and we all love football!), going to countless chorus concerts, and plays, and so many more things. I’ve always been amazed that my dad, in spite of his difficult childhood, was such a good father. Since losing my mom last year, it means even more to have him in my life.
My husband is an example of nurture vs. nature. He had a mom and dad who were always involved in everything he did, as well as grandparents who spent a lot of time with him. As an only child, my husband knew he wanted to have more than one child----isn’t he lucky we have three?! As a naval officer, he spent more time away from home than any of us wanted. There were missed birthdays, anniversaries, sporting events, school programs, and even chicken pox (I’m pretty sure he wasn’t upset about missing that one). But he made up for it while he was home, spending as much free time with our kids as he could, even letting me escape for a few “girls only” trips. We finally made the decision four years ago that the Navy had had enough of his time, and so he retired after 21 years of service. Now he has plenty of time to coach football, attend dance recitals, concerts and play Mr. Mom when I go to various conferences. I’m blessed to have married such a man, and I hope our children know how lucky they are. Our two sons will have a wonderful example to follow.
My dad was my champion. As first-born, I had him all to myself for five years until the first of my four brothers was born. And, as his only daughter, we had a special bond that only strengthened over the years. He introduced me to football, dressed me in University of Michigan sweaters before I could walk and taught me the words to "The Victors" (his university's fight song) before I could read but, years later, when I chose to attend his school's fiercest rival, he supported me with love and pride...and a good-natured rivalry on game day that was almost more fun than the game itself. He encouraged my love of reading and my love of travel and worked hard to make sure I had opportunities to indulge both. He taught me to spread my wings, embrace change, live life to the fullest, approach the unknown with enthusiasm rather than fear and face death with dignity and grace. He wasn't perfect but he was the perfect dad for me. He died seven years ago and hardly a day goes by that I don't think of him...and smile.
Who are you celebrating this Father's Day? We'd love to hear about him (or them).
This post was inspired by Janga's beautiful tribute to her father at http://justjanga.blogspot.com/.