This is something I wrote a couple of years ago leading up to my first Father’s Day. It perfectly sums up my thoughts and feelings of what this day means to me, before and after becoming responsible for another life. Happy Father’s Day to all of the past, present and future Dad’s.
With Father’s Day a few days away, I got to thinking about what my first Father’s Day as a Dad means to me. I have spent all of my life not knowing who my father was but I never went a day without one.
At an age too young for me to remember my grandparents took us from the care of my mother who fighting addiction, unfortunately did not have the tools to care for us. So as long as I could remember I always had a Father, my Grandfather. Everyday I had an example of consistency and hard work, his car would be gone before we woke 6 days a week and every evening he came home from his job at the United Postal Service at the same time everyday. As kids, my sister and I would joke about the crackle and pop sound his knees would make when he stood up from his recliner chair. We were too naive to appreciate that those aches and pains provided us the means to grow up in a safe New England suburb. I would be hard pressed to remember a single day that my grandfather ever stayed home from work sick. As far as I was concerned, if I looked in the dictionary for the word dependable I would find his smiling face and gray afro.
I cant say there was a specific day that I learned that my Grandfather held such title by marriage to my Grandmother and not blood. I don’t think it ever mattered because every single day he was my Father. As I became a young man that fact spoke even more to me about what kind of man he was. It takes a special and loving man to raise another mans children.
My Grandfather or who my sister I called “Daddy” passed away the summer going into my senior year of high school. At the time he was one year into retirement back in his birth state of North Carolina. In my time with my Grandfather he left a lasting impression of what kind of father and provider I could hope to be for my budding family. He did not do it with words because he was a man of few words. He showed by simply being himself and being a dependable rock.
When I really think back I can say that I was blessed with a lifetime of reliable, positive male figures to look up to even though none of them was my father. I played sports from the time that I could run. Every year and every season from when I was a little kid through college there was a man who showed up everyday to help show kids how to learn and win. During my pre-high school years, they were all volunteers . Sometimes they didn’t even have kids on the team but they showed up consistently everyday. These men didn’t just show up, they cared, listened and spent the world’s most valuable commodity of time on us. That dedication says something and even if I didn’t see it or appreciate it then, it set a constant example to be someone that can be trusted and counted on.
So this Fathers’s Day, I want to thank all the men, my Grandfather, Matthew Ready, coaches, teachers, uncles and others who were not my father but made it possible for me to know what it’s like to depend on someone and have them deliver every time. That example has made it possible for me to set the same example for my own son. Thank you and Happy Father’s Day.