Father’s Day has always been one of the days that was hit or miss for me growing up. My parents divorced early, and I spent my early years not really seeing or knowing my Father. When I did start visiting him more often, it was rare that it happened to be on Father’s Day, and so a simple card or phone call was the norm for celebrating this day.
My Step-Father and I were never really close either, so even a card with a few honest thoughts was hard to muster up for him. I guess I really never understood the true meaning of Father’s Day until I got older, as the meaning of Father was kind of lost on me early on.
The one man that was always a constant in my life was my grandfather. The word Grandfather certainly had meaning for me. He was the one I looked up to, respected, and valued as a man. Although I didn’t get to be with him everyday, his example was enough to show me the blueprint of what kind of man I wanted to be, as well as what kind of Father when the time came.
As I grew older, and made high-school friends, I spent a lot of time at their homes, studying what a “normal” family looked like. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was a little jealous of something I did not have myself. A relationship with my Father. As most of you know from previous blogs, my father passed away when I was only 13. We really only started having a real relationship when I was about 7 years old, so as you can imagine, that’s not much time in between; especially when you only see him for a few weeks in the summer and talk once a month on the phone.
I remember vividly the relationship of my best friend Steve and his Father, as I probably spent the most time in their home. It was almost like they were best friends; joking around, playing catch, and talking about whatever current topic was at hand. There was definitely that illusion of friendship, but there was also something more. There was love, and respect. I could see it as plain as the nose on my face. Steve had respect and love for his Father, and his father, in turn had the same for Steve. It was evident by all the hugs and “I love you’s” I had to endure throughout the course of those years, something I knew little about. As I continuously studied the bond between Steve and his Father (Steve was oblivious to my fascination), I added to the blueprint of what kind of Father I wanted to be to my children.
I often wonder if all kids that were in my situation, were as curious as I was about what was missing? I honestly felt like something was left out of my life, and sometimes I didn’t think it was fair. As I look back now, I learned many very valuable lessons from what I had, and from what I didn’t have. Lessons that still impact my life today. As hard and frustrating as some days were, they did shape who I became, for better or worse. I’d like to think for better!
The word “Father” to me is sacred. It is a title given down from the heavens, as it is shared with the Almighty himself. I think the title is given as a gift, but not without responsibility. The title has meaning, and it has a different meaning to everyone. Although the title had little or insignificant meaning to me growing up, it has sacred and tremendous meaning to me now. Life changes people, and their viewpoints. Isn’t that funny?
Fatherhood has humbled me. It has shown me how precious life is. It has changed my viewpoint on life. It has given great perspective. It has given me regrets, and made me sorry for some of my actions. It has softened my heart, and opened my arms. Fatherhood is a gift from God, our eternal Heavenly Father. How humbled I am that he wants me to have all that he has.
My prayer every day is that my daughters will know and love me as I know and love my Heavenly Father. My promise to my Heavenly Father is that I will know and love my daughters as he loves me. Every day I wake up, I carry with me that sacred title. Although my journey has not been perfect or without trials, I know it has made me a better person; a stronger person. It has given me perspective and vision that I did not understand when I was younger. My Father in Heaven filled the voids I had in my life with his servants, and they executed his calling with their example of what was true and right. How grateful I am for these people, who will never know their full influence on me.
I pray that I can have the same relationship with my children that Steve and his Dad shared, or me and my grandfather. I hope that my children will value our relationship as I value mine with my Father in Heaven.
I hope you all have a wonderful Father’s Day spent with the ones you love!