Some of my fondest memories were wrestling with my dad... racing him... running as fast as I could, hanging from his incredibly strong biceps, being flung into the air and, caught in his arms. He taught me to take risks, to challenge my safety net, and to even be reckless sometimes... These things are a bit outside of my nature and I needed his push to do things that were challenging.
Dad's have hard jobs, they have to go out in the world, compete in a sometimes ruthless and harsh world (and yes I know many women do too). But they summon up the strength and push forward defying all the critics and the all the forces that could, and often do, combine against them. Sometimes dads are riskier playing with their kids and sometimes we'd get hurt... but it was worth the risk. We survived and the experiences we gained were priceless. Sometimes men ignore risks and/or don't weigh all the possibilities of what could go wrong... but as a man working in a dog eat dog world... sometimes you have to slap on your big boy pants imagine that you're invincible, forget about the risks, and go for it. Sure it might be terrifying but that's the essence of manhood. And time and experience has proven to me that all those cliche phrases like man-up and take it like a man are well founded.
|I always compared my Dad to Popeye because I thought he had such incredibly strong forearms... Yet he was not one who encouraged us to eat our vegetables.|
I remember as a child thinking my Dad was invincible. He truly was my super hero. I needed my mom to be there for me, to comfort me, to calm me, to quietly encourage me, but when things were scary or especially challenging... I needed my Dad to tell me to suck it up, put on my big girl pants and go for it. He seemed to see through my insecurities and fears and push me to become who I am today.
Without my Dad I likely never would have:
--applied for and worked during every summer since 9th grade
--ran like a gazelle and felt the need for speed in track placing 1st in several sprinting races throughout my junior high years
--tried out for roles in high school plays and overcome my shyness (which most people do not believe I was extremely shy as a child)
--Learned to drive. Something about driving with my mother seems to multiply all of my anxieties. But driving with my dad made it less scary and the risks manageable. It was more fun.
--gone to College
--declared my major/minor and committed to learning more about things that I was passionate about although yet unskilled.... I had to challenge myself.
--fallen for my incredible husband who I continuously realize possesses so many of those amazing manly-qualities I first learned to admire from my dad.
And I know that, without my Dad, I would never have been born.
He was a Super Hero who swept my mom off her feet. She was a divorcee, raising my two older sisters, and had to sacrifice much for them. Because of the challenges of parenting she returned to live with her parents so she could survive, work, and have her family close to help raise my sisters.
My Dad met my mom and was not scared away by the responsibilities of leaving bachelorhood to becoming not only a husband but an instant father of two. To this day I'm still baffled that he actually proposed to her on their first official date... he had only known her for maybe a few weeks. Now, that takes guts!
He stepped in and raised my sisters as his own. Their father had stepped out on his fatherhood responsibilities to chase after selfish pursuits. He was not supporting my mother as she raised his children and signed over his parental rights when Dad officially adopted them. Growing up I never even knew that they were any different from my other siblings. We were all his. They may not be his biological daughters, but they laid claim on his heart long before I was even a conglomerate of cells. Biology did not matter. He committed to my mother and her children and they added 5 more challenging yet irreplaceable blessings to the mix.
|This is my Dad with the love of his life.|
I imagine if the world was run completely by women it would be very safe, clean, and peaceful... but it would also be very BORING! The world can be so very crazy and fun, but then we can return to our safe comfortable homes, thanks to loving mothers.
Yes, I know that as a mother my kids rely on me daily for survival, but they need their dad too. I'm glad he's around to teach my kids to ride their bikes, to encourage them to run with reckless abandon, and to climb incredible heights. They are really learning to conquer their fears...
Yes, they may fall, and they might get hurt, but that makes my role even more necessary. Somehow my kisses have magical healing powers. Just ask my fearless three year old son. He knows. Someday he'll be an awesomely fearless man.... Hopefully he won't be satisfied expending all his incredible man abilities for his own selfish desires, he'll father children and become a great DAD!
|This is my now 3-yr-old son sitting with a pinata of his grandpa.|
I do realize that so many children are raised without dads (this deeply saddens me). Let us thank and encourage and praise men who do their part. We also need to recognize men who fill that role for children who so desperately need that influence in their lives.
I want to especially thank my husband who completes me and, through fulfilling his role as Dad, allows me to more fully realize my role as Mom (and for making it possible in the first place :o).
A great article written by a dad interpreting his unique role in his kids' lives:
A Wonderful Film that has recently helped me re-realize my appreciation of fathers:
Saving Mr. Banks