“Fatherhood must be at the core of the universe.” — George MacDonald
Years ago one of my children’s pets was dying and someone had to do what no one wanted to do.
I remember when every teary-eye in the room, including my wife’s, turned to me and silently pleaded for me to some how fix it, to make it better. I remember feeling the hurt and pain of each child’s affection for this cherished pet.
But I also remember realizing that this is what Dads do; this is what my Dad had done for me, and my pets.
For Sabrina, and Angel, and Whiskers, and Tweetie; and so many more.
Whenever things got difficult or hard, no one voted. We all just turned to him.
And he fixed.
And he prayed.
And he believed. In me.
Before we ever met he committed to caring for me, paying my bills, changing my diapers, pulling my splinters, and fixing my bike.
It was his finances that bought my shoes and my clothes; he paid for every meal; his hard-earned money got me through college, and even today he is still just as quick, just as generous to give whatever he has anytime I am in need.
He lifted me up when my legs were tired.
I rode on his shoulders when the pavement was hot.
We all slept on those long, late-night drives, while he not only stayed awake to get us home safely, but held me against his chest, still sleeping, from the car to my bed.
He built the basketball hoop under the streetlight, and painted lines in the street.
(Only now do I wonder about City permission, or neighborhood diplomacy!)
He taught me how to build a fire, how to fix a broken sprinkler, and how to paint a house.
He taught me how to fix the brakes on a car, and how to fix a flat on my bike.
He taught me how to throw a baseball, and how to swing a hammer.
It was his firm, but steady hand that etched moral boundaries into my conscience.
He taught me right and wrong, and what was good, better, and best.
He showed me how to honor the elderly, and care for the vulnerable.
He taught me of God, and faith; of love and grace.
He showed me how to love my neighbors, and how to love my wife.
He modeled for me how to be a father; how to be a friend.
I carry his sense of humor.
I carry his work ethic.
I carry his same morals, and his patriotism.
I carry his sense of justice, fairness, and compassion.
I carry his name.
For he is my father.
And I am honored to be his son.
And now, I am a messenger to future generations; carrying his stories, his lessons.
I carry his values, and I carry his virtues to his descendants.
And someday I will carry his body, finally sleeping, finally resting, to a place where he can no longer carry me.
I love you, Dad.
Thank you for loving me before I even knew how to love you back.
Thank you for showing me how to be a man, but more importantly, how to be a Dad.