Sunday, June 17, 2012

It Takes a Special Person to be a Daddy

Yep, that's my daddy.  I don't think I've ever called him anything other than daddy my entire life.  I've always heard people say that anyone can be a "father," but it takes a special person to be a "daddy."  Well, I have the most special daddy in the world!

This man is strong, smart, and can do anything.  I always saw him as a superhero when I was growing up.  I knew that he could solve any problem and fix anything that was broken.  When I was 16, he rebuilt the engine in a car so I could have something to drive.  When I was 22, he helped heal my broken heart after my divorce.  He helped me to not fall on my face when he walked me down the aisle last year, and gave me away to the most awesome husband I could ever have found (who, by the way, is a lot like my daddy in a lot of ways.)  He came with us when we looked at houses every Saturday for several months, and helped us identify and understand potential issues with the ones we liked.

My dad was a farmer when I was a kid.  During that time, he used our farm as a classroom, teaching us about animal care and the circle of life.  He taught us how to work hard and how to appreciate a job well done when we were finished.  He was firm, but gentle with his two girls, never raising a hand to us (he let my mom do that on occasion) and never making us feel like we were less than what we were to him - his girls, his world.

He coached our first softball team, and never missed a soccer game.  He even came to my theatre and choir performances, even though I knew they were not his favorite thing to attend.  He came because his daughter was in it, and he knew that's where he needed to be.  We grew up outside, playing and working and spending time with him.  He helped us develop our minds and imaginations, and a deep appreciation for the earth and everything it gives us.  We were never afraid to get our hands dirty like some girls were.  He taught me how to fish when I was little, and I still remember trying to throw the cast net (it was a little bait net just like his only smaller) when I was 10 years old.  I got pretty good, but it took a long time!

I've seen my daddy cry only a few times in my life, and while it was terrifying for me at the time, I'm glad I saw it.  It's important for girls to understand that men do cry sometimes and that it's okay.

My daddy and I are similar people in a lot of ways.  I'm just as stubborn as he is, and never want to back down from a fight.  My dad will debate with you that the sky is purple, knowing that he is wrong, but wanting to debate it anyway.  And the funny thing is, you will most likely leave the conversation questioning your knowledge about the color of the sky!

He shows love well.  I never had any doubt that my daddy loved my mom.  They would kiss each other goodbye and hello in our presence.  Not intimate kisses, but sweet pecks on the lips to acknowledge that they were glad to see each other, or that they would miss each other while apart.  I never had any doubt that he loved me, either.  He would kiss us on the cheek all the time.  When we were little, we would crawl up into his lap while he was watching TV and hug him like he was our favorite teddy bear.  And really, that's exactly what he was!  I have great memories of watching the original Star Trek while sitting on my daddy's lap in the living room.

He is not arrogant like so many men are.  He is a humble man who deserves to be recognized for his intelligence and skills, but because he is humble, you will never hear him brag about it.  He is a fun and funny person to be around who always manages to make everyone laugh.  I never felt like he wished he could be doing something other than being right where he was, with his wife and his kids.  He taught me about integrity and honesty.

On this Father's Day, I can't help reflecting on what a wonderful daddy I had and still have.  I think of all the qualities I love about him and about the fact that I see those qualities in my husband.  I am happy that our children will have the kind of daddy I had.  And that they will have my daddy for a grandpa.

Happy Father's Day, daddy!  You have always been, and will always be, my superhero!

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