A Father’s Day Tribute

As a social worker, I see many fathers who have become separated from their families.  Many of them make it to the nursing facility where I work and have no contact with their children due to past conflicts and issues that have remained unforgiven.  Fathers today have a challenging job.  Divorce has left many children separated from their fathers and the traditional roles have changed over the years.  I’d like to take the opportunity to honor the fathers who have made a difference in my life.  They have all had challenges of their own, but have gone on to become the wonderful dads and granddads they are today.

My father and I have not always seen eye to eye.  I often saw him as an overly opinionated man who had a difficult time seeing other points of view.  I was very emotional and struggled with his strong personality.  Things really changed for me when I was going through a divorce.  I remember calling my parents to tell them that my husband and I had split.  I half expected my father to start telling me what I should be doing but instead received unconditional love and support.  I was raising my three children in a huge old house that I couldn’t manage on my own.  Whenever I needed some help, my Dad was there.  I cannot express how touched I was when he offered to come and finish building my porch for me, a project that was halfway through completion.  Every time I sat on my beautiful new porch, I felt his love and kindness.  While he may not have been able to offer me the words I needed to hear, he showed me with his actions.  My father is there now and has always been there for me whenever I needed him.

Dad, I know that we are not the kind of people that speak freely about our emotions to each other so I am putting my feelings into writing.  I want you to know that I love you very much and appreciate everything that you have given me in my life.  I have never wanted for anything and I don’t know how you managed that while raising five children.  You worked hard and took care of us.  Even though you were the sole income earner for our family back then, you still managed to hold the house together and find time to spend time with us, laughing and play fighting, something you always loved to instigate.  I love the way you can fix anything and I am convinced that I get some of my creativity from you.  You are an artist in your own right as a talented woodworker, creator of beautiful homes, and eye for color.  You really blew me away when you helped me pick out the perfect color border for my quilt.  It is so nice to see you now as a grandfather and I thank you for attending all those recitals and graduations for my children.  It means so much to them to have you there.   Happy Fathers Day, Dad!

The other father in my life is my father-in-law.  Ron, when I first met you while dating your son in college, I felt scared of you.  You were quiet and stern looking and I wasn’t sure how to be with that.  As I got to know you better, I learned that you had quite a sense of humor.  You are kind and generous and you always made me feel as a part of your family.  As the grandchildren came around, you took to them with such love it made my heart melt.  Watching you with your granddaughter has been one of the most special things I’ve seen in my life.  You have taken your grandsons under your wing and shown them how to do things around the house by including them in projects out at the lake house.  I don’t think I have ever met a more patient person in my life.  You are always calm and take things as they come.  You are a great role model for my children and I love that you are in their lives and in my life.  Thank you for everything you have done for me over the years.  Your support of me has been nothing short of amazing.  Happy Father’s Day to you, Ron, I love you.

And last but not least, I’d like to say Happy Father’s Day to my ex-husband.  Monty, I am grateful for the fact that we were able to remain friends after ending our marriage.  I would like to thank you for giving me three beautiful children and for being all that I could not be for them.  If it weren’t for you, they would not have had many of the wonderful experiences that they had.  You taught them about things that I was either not interested in or didn’t know how to do.  I see you in each of our children in different ways and they are better for having you as a part of them.  Happy Father’s Day to you!

Happy Father’s Day!

Julie

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