June 19th, 2011
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This post is a big shout out to all of the wonderful men out there who love and provide for their beautiful children.  If your Dad is no longer alive, I hope you tell funny and sentimental stories about him today or think about the special things you did together.  I’d also like to give some recognition to the fantastic men who continually reach out to the children who need a Dad in their lives.

Father’s Day is a celebration of all Dads and all of the important emotional and material contributions they make for the good of their families but it is a day full of contradictions for me.  My wonderful father is still alive but sadly my son’s is not.

I think my son handles this incredibly well and I think his father would be very proud of the young man he is today and is still becoming.  It has been a journey of ups and downs but on the whole he deals with his emotions in this area better than I would if I were in his shoes.  I don’t know what it feels like to be a guy so it’s hard to know exactly what boys need.  Yes, all children need love but I remember reading in a book about boys that at a certain age their fathers need to help them cross that emotional bridge over into the male world because listening to your Mom just doesn’t cut it with the guys.  I guess if your Dad isn’t there to do that for you then your male friends do it for you.

Talking about what Father’s Day means to my son is a mixed bag.  He says he remembers his Dad but sadly a lot of his memories are filled with hospitals and uncertainty.  My son has a photo album filled with pictures from happier times but he was very young and remembers only bits and pieces.  We know that his Dad could have made smarter health decisions but at a certain point you can only do so much.  It is hard to watch other fathers and sons interact because it makes me wonder what it would be like today if my husband was still alive and healthy.  I often wonder what it would be like if my husband were alive, but Father’s Day seems to really drive home the point.

My husband subscribed to the idea of working hard and playing hard and eventually the effects of that lifestyle caught up with him.  He had been in and out of the hospital for two and half years before his death and when he died our son was thirteen, a vulnerable age in the best of times.  My son and I talk honestly about this subject because I believe it is better to talk about your thoughts than to keep them to yourself.  Ignoring the anger, frustration or anxiety only makes it worse.

Today also reminds me how much my husband loved being a father, not only to my son but to his four other children who are all so very special.  I think he tried to make sure that all of his children felt his love for them and that they knew how precious each of them was to him.  He did have a silly side that he was not afraid to share with them, playing word games and making up funny nicknames for them.  But there was also another side of him that he showed only if you didn’t do something you were supposed to, such as work hard in school.  It was then that you entered the “no bullshit zone” and he used something they all call “The Voice.” You can imagine what that sounded like.  My father’s version of the “The Voice” was pursing his lips and giving you “The Look.”

Today I see glimpses of their father in all of them and it’s a beautiful gift that always makes me smile.  He was definitely a father from the old school and that meant that work got in the way of spending time at home many more times than the children liked.  But that happens to many fathers, including my own, and I understand why.  Men define themselves through their work; it is what keeps a roof over their families’ heads and it is what bonds them to other men.  In the case of my father, he held down three jobs to generously provide for his six children and I still can’t figure out how he did it.

To my Dad, I say thanks for showing me the value and rewards of hard work and living life passionately.  Also a big thanks for being the kind of Dad who let me and my siblings drink our cereal from a glass, sleep on top of the bedspreads, spend summers at the beach, pay for our parking tickets and make us feel totally loved and cherished.  You’re the best!!!!!

Happy Father’s Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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