The dictionary defines a father as: 1. God, when considered as the first person in the Trinity. 2. a male parent 3. a person who founds a line or family; forefather 4. any male acting in a paternal capacity. 5. to create, found, originate, etc. 6. to act as a father to.
But, what does a father mean to you? Is he: A coach? A protector? A provider? A teacher? A leader? A disciplinary? A hero?
Growing up, I was always very proud of my crime-fighting, “super hero” father. Some of my fondest memories still linger in my head as if it was just yesterday, and it brings warmth & love to my heart & makes me smile!
I loved when he knelt down to pray with me when he tucked me into bed, when he would explain the parts of the Bible that were too “foreign” for me to grasp, the volunteering opportunities that we participated in, singing The Bee Gees & The Beach Boys songs together on our roads trips, the beautiful music he played on the organ (by ear), and the meal time prayers he recited with us that he learned from his grandfather. In my mind, he was a hero…my hero, minus the cape.
I listened intently about his adventures of being a Marine, being in Vietnam, being a fire fighter, a police officer, a mechanic, an EMT, and a Police Chief; always thinking to myself, wow, how lucky am I, for my dad is not only MY hero, but also a true, real-life hero! And in my innocent, star-struck eyes, my dad could do no wrong, for he was the perfect man..he was MY very own personal hero!
I longed to make him proud, to be a huge part of his life, so that when he would look back & reflect on his life, I would be a big part of this amazing “super-hero” life of his! Although he was never my “tee ball coach”, nor a bystanders at many of my activities & events, he was important, respected, kind, strong compassionate, handsome, brave, hard-working (he sacrificed most of his time to his work); although this was a sacrifice that made me very envious, (for I always longed to have more “quality time” with my father and wanted him to truly “get to know my heart and my soul”), I understood!
Little did I know, years later, as I grew older & wiser, “my reality” would be rattled with somewhat different “realities.” I never stopped being my father’s biggest protector, biggest advocate, biggest fan, nor do I love him any less than that little girl with the “hero dad” did, but my maturing mind was switched to fit a more realistic “view” of my father. I could never thank him enough for being such a wonderful, caring person, provider & most of all, protector, for I always felt I was “untouchable”, for my father made me feel safe & protected, plus he carried a gun..lol 😉
As I grew older, I started seeing his flaws, his fears, his pain, and his struggles, and I switched into a “caretaker” & “peacemaker” mode, for I wanted to help him, bring peace to him, and protect him. It was hard to believe my amazing father was much more than a “hero”, and that he fought many of the same “demons” that other people fought, and sometimes carried even more deeper, darker hurts than others. How could this be possible? For my father was the strongest, bravest man I ever knew! It broke my heart that my “super-hero” dad was more “normal” than I had ever imagined, and the pain he carried was heart shattering to me, but it also helped me understand him better.
Despite his flaws, his mistakes, his pain, and “his story”, I still admire my dad just as much as that “little girl” did so long ago, but now, my realty is that, my “super-hero” dad is “just human” and that he makes mistakes, he has a past, and he, also, is tattered with pain & hurt.
But, regardless of all of that, my father is still my “hero” without a cape! He is the one man that raised me to be who I am today, by instilling values, morals, faith, strength, discipline, forgiveness, and compassion! He also taught me that mistakes can be fixed, and that people should be forgiven, for no one eludes sin in this world! I respected that “human” layer of my father just as much as the “hero” layer of him. Through my teenage years and much of my adulthood, I still longed to make my father proud, to get him to notice the person I was becoming. I stumbled through some very rough stages & made many mistakes, but I also made some amazing transformations, as I blossomed into my faith.
The memories of my father’s teachings still linger in my head, and I find myself to have many of my father’s qualities (many good, some, not so good), but I find myself using these as a learning tool to help me grow into the woman, wife, and mother that I am supposed to be.
Now, as a married mother of 3 amazing boys, I have the life tools to assist me in “doing things right”, trying my hardest (even if it’s not perfect), growing my faith, forgiving easily, being compassionate, being strong, being non-judging, and being kind & I have finally come to realize that I am a very strong, loving & faithful woman. I spend much “quality time” with my husband & sons, for I want them to feel loved, important & involved, and I want to know as much as I can about them, never missing a beat. I pray prayers (the prayers that my father taught me as a child) with my boys, take part in volunteer activities, read my Bible daily, and protect my family as a mother bear protects her cubs! I also found a loving man who has many of the same qualities as my father. And many thanks to my father because, I have learned how to understand & accept my husband, flaws and all, to forgive his weaknesses & mistakes, to protect him, to be strong for him, to love him unconditionally, just like the love I feel for my father.
And when my husband kneels down to pray our family prayer with our sons, when he takes the time to explain the Bible & Jesus to our sons, or when he belts out in song on our road trips, I feel the memories & warmth of my father & it makes me proud that my amazing “hero” husband is much like my “hero” father! And no amount of mistakes can change the unconditional love I hold for them both, just as I do our sons!
Today I celebrate my amazing father & husband & I thank God that he blessed me with them, for he blessed me with the best! I pray that our sons acquire many of the wonderful qualities of these two amazing men. And that the love, lessons & memories will hold strong in their hearts & mind all the days of their lives! Thank you dad, for the man & father/grandfather that you have been and are now! And Thank you to my husband for all that he is & does…for the things that you do and the love that you show to me & our sons are appreciated more than you will ever know! I love you both forever & a day ❤ Happy Father’s Day ❤