There are many different kinds of fathers in this world. Some are uninterested and not involved with their families, and others are unselfish and fully invested in their family life, and then of course there are other spots on the spectrum that dads fall into at different points in their lives.
My dad was closer to the first part of the spectrum. I knew he loved me, but from a far-away distance. He had very little to do with the day-to-day details of my life. As an adult, I understand some of his struggles and pain in a fresh way, and this perspective offers me a little grace for his shortcomings as a parent. It also helps that he has been dead for eight years, which sounds harsh, but it's much harder to come to terms with the failings of our parents while they are alive, and still capable of inflicting emotional damage to us.
I'm grateful that I had a stand-in father in my later teenage years, in the form of my boss in the first office I worked in. He loved me unconditionally and gave me support and encouragement in a way that my own dad wasn't capable of providing. Over many years, this man helped to heal some of those old hurts, and still does that for me today.
I needed him this week, so I made a phone call to ask him for some encouragement, and with not a second's hesitation, he said, "The answer is yes to whatever it is that you need." To have a person in your life who says this to you is like someone holding up a glass of ice cold water on a blistering day in the middle of the sandy desert. It's a lifeline, and I'm grateful for this man who has filled the gap for me many times and will continue to do so in the future.
Father's Day was always a hard day for me as a kid, because my dad didn't match up to my hopes and dreams for what a father should be like. Seven years ago, Jason experienced his first Father's Day, and the love on his face when he looked at our baby daughter did a lot for my disappointed heart. Since then, every year has been better and better when it comes to this day on the calendar. Jason is involved on a daily basis with our 2 kids, handling everything from the mundane to the important, shoulder to shoulder with me as a parenting team. It's even better in reality than I made it in my imagination, which is saying a lot for a person like me who tends to dwell in my own mental house.
I'm grateful today for all that we have built together as a family. Step by step we have talked about what we wanted our family life to look like, and we have made it happen. We have a long way to go, but since we aren't quite in middle age yet, we need more goals to work toward. I never want to stop improving what we are doing, for that is what life is all about.
There is always something else to anticipate and look forward to; as one stage ends, another begins, and we have a learning curve to master all over again. It keeps life interesting and challenging. There is no one else I'd rather walk through life with than my husband. If I was getting married tomorrow, he would still be the one I'd pick, and without a doubt, choosing him to be the father of my kids was the best decision I've ever made.