The Dads

Salisbury Post- June 16, 2018

I surely gave the stranger speaking to me an incredulous look. My family had just completed two hours of ‘receiving friends’ at funeral home visitation during the loss of my father.

 

I was walking toward the exit door to go home and try to sleep, as I knew I had to prepare myself for the funeral the next day, but he stopped me in my tracks with these words, “Your dad was so proud of you.” 

 

Honestly, I remember looking around to see who he was talking to. It couldn’t be me. It felt like an eternity before I was able to whisper the word, “Really?” 

 

I was 30 years old, and this was my first time dealing with the death of a family member. My father’s struggle with alcoholism had hurt our relationship, but I loved him - he was my father.

 

This stranger had my attention, and I began to listen. He had worked with my dad for years, and said that he had constantly talked about me - proud that I had gone to college, proud that I was a teacher, proud that I was a faithful church member, followed by a few more ‘prouds’ that left me shaking my head in disbelief.

 

Daddy. Was. Proud. Of. Me. I can’t even type those words thirty years later without crying. My whole perception of our father-daughter relationship changed instantly …because I now knew he had been proud of me. The imperfect parenting and our imperfect relationship no longer mattered - he was my father and he was proud of me.

 

There sure are a lot of dads that seem proud of their children in 2018. They are at school events, in church, at sporting events, recitals, in grocery stores, malls, and parks. Everywhere they can go with their children - they go. They are attentive to them, doting over them, and totally immersed in whatever is going on in their lives. They give their children the chance to see a father’s pride - and a father’s love - in action. It is a beautiful thing.

 

So, to all the fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, father in laws, and father figures out there, this Father’s Day is to celebrate you!

 

Circumstances like work schedules, busy lives, distance, age, child custody, limited contact, or even estrangement… may sometimes dim the potential for feeling like your journey as a father has been successful. But, there are no perfect parents, and nothing can take away the reality that you are a father - and you are proud of your child - no matter their age. 

 

If you are that ‘near-perfect’ father that everyone would love to be, celebrate that! But, for most, who feel far from being the perfect father, remember this:  Every moment you have spent with your child has sown seeds of love, belonging, and confidence into their hearts, even when the amount of time sometimes may not seem to be enough. 

 

Do not spend your time trying to count the minutes - spend your time making the minutes count.

 

A father’s love runs really deep - as is exemplified by our Heavenly Father’s love for us.

 

God’s love and pride for us is magnificently evidenced through the words in Zephaniah 3:17, where it says that God delights in us and rejoices over us with singing. Yes, that definitely sounds like He is proud of us!

 

Here’s to the fathers out there - perfect - or sometimes - maybe not so much - Happy Father’s Day!

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