Today is the first Fathers’ Day without my Dad. He died in January, shortly before his 80th birthday.
When he died, I hadn’t seen him in about 10 years. We’d talked on the phone, but hadn’t seen each other. There were reasons for that that I wish didn’t exist. I made bad choices and stuck in a marriage that was bad for me on so many levels that it actually kept me away from my family. Something I regret and am sad to admit.
I loved my Dad … still do. He was such an important part of my life and helped me become the person I am today, which although not perfect, is pretty darn good … all things considered.
Dad was the one who helped me learn to read.
Dad was the one who helped me learn to write.
Both were challenging because, as I know now, I have dyslexia and words don’t always look or sound like they actually are to me.
Dad introduced me to speculative fiction. He’s the one who turned me on to Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and J.R.R. Tolkien. He introduced me to Star Trek.
I was Daddy’s Little Girl and even had a dress that said so when I was toddler!
Back in May 2008 I wrote a tribute to dads for a newsletter that I was working for. It was well liked, so I thought I’d share it with you today.
A Salute to Fathers Everywhere
Once a year, we pay tribute to one of the most important figures in our lives: Dad. Erika Cosby once said, “You know, fathers just have a way to putting everything together.” So here is an open letter to fathers everywhere saying thank you for all you’ve done for us throughout the years.
Dad, thank you:
- For being courageous and chasing the monster from under my bed.
- For taking the time to read me bedtime stories, sometimes the same ones over again, so that I would sleep well at night.
- For teaching me how to ride my first bicycle … and then putting bandages on my knee after I fell down.
- For carrying me on your back when I got too tired to walk.
- For knowing when I needed a hug .. and when I needed a scolding.
- For helping me with my homework .. even when you weren’t sure of the answers yourself.
For making me wear my seat belt in the car and a helmet when I rode my bike.
- For being there when I was sad, as well as when I was happy.
- For teaching me to write my name in the sand at the beach.
- For taking me to the zoo, the park, the museum and all the other places that showed me what a big, wide wonderful world we live in.
- For making me eat my broccoli and spinach.
- For lending me money when I really needed it and saying “No” when I really didn’t.
- For knowing when to jump in and protect me, and when to stand aside and let me falter on my own.
- For letting me ramble on about the dreams I had last night, what I did as school yesterday, what I thought was so cool about our vacation last summer, even when I had already told you these things before, and making me believe you thought what I was saying was the most interesting thing in the world.
- For giving me your brave face when I went to the hospital with appendicitis … and being there when I woke up.
- For being my friend, confidant and most trusted advisor as I grew up, went to college and started my career.
- For always believing in me, even when I made mistakes and didn’t believe in myself.
Thank you, Dad, for all these things and more. My gratitude for your love, patience and perseverance is immeasurable. I can only hope that I’ll be as good a parent as you.
Thankfully, I’m not left fatherless on this Fathers’ Day. My Mom married a wonderful man who has been very supportive over the years. He’ll never replace my Dad, but he’s been a very good surrogate father. So I guess I’ve been blessed with two great fathers!
Happy Fathers’s Day Andy!