These fathers are great examples

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sunday is Father’s Day and my father, the one who gave me life, is no longer on this earth. I miss him physically being here. I miss being able to talk with him and to listen to all his ideas and stories.

However, I know he isn‘t gone because I feel his presence in quiet moments when a memory or something he used to say pops into my head.

“Morning glory; what’s the story,” that’s Daddy whispering to me when I wake on a beautiful summer day.

Often, I think of things he said or remember experiences with him that taught me important lessons. He was a good man, a sincere man and a genuine human who did his best to live his best life.

Remembering Daddy got me to thinking about what makes a good father and about other fathers I know. The dictionary defines a father as a man whose sperm unites with a woman’s egg to produce an offspring. That’s the biological definition, but being a father is so much more than producing an offspring.

There are lots of men who are fathers to children that are not biologically their children. No, being a dad is about making a commitment to a child, about loving a child more than you love yourself. It’s an act of giving freely from the heart.

I know some really great fathers. Men who take seriously the roles they play in the lives of those who look to them for guidance and love.

Of course, my first experience of this was with my Daddy, as I said. I’ve also seen what a good stepfather looks like by watching my husband interact with my three oldest children.

He had the great wisdom to know that, while we lived under one roof as a family, they had a biological father other than him. He never tried to be a replacement, but instead told them he was willing to be their friend and was always available to help and care for them.

And, I’ve had the gift of watching this man parent our youngest child, his biological daughter. He loves unconditionally and despite the limits that autism places on her ability to communicate, she shows her love for him in so many ways. They just “get” each other.

He is an amazing father and I know why. He has an amazing father. It is a blessing beyond words to have my father-in-law in my life. If you want to see the living definition of a good father and a good man, he is it.

When my husband and I married and I brought three children into his life, my father-in-law instantly became their grandfather. He accepted them, loved them and they responded by loving him in return. Then our youngest child was born and she completely captured his heart.

While the way he raised my husband to be a wonderful man and the way he loves my children makes me appreciate him so much, I feel an even deeper bond with him. In many ways, he is my other Daddy.

I admire him, respect him and honor his wisdom. That’s exactly how I feel about my father, too.

So, this Father’s Day I send love, gratitude and a big thank you to these three fathers. To Daddy I say, I miss you and I am so grateful for the way you loved me and raised me.

To my husband, words can’t express how deeply I honor you for the kind of father and the kind of man that you are.

Finally, to my father-in-law, I may not be your daughter by birth, but I love you as much as I love my own daddy.

Happy Father’s Day to each of you and to all the amazing men who open their hearts and lives to the children they nurture and love.