My husband is our family hero, but he has his own hero. Here is his story…
Father’s Day. It means so many different things to so many people. To me, it is a day, like most of my days, that I honor the man who made me who I am today. My father is and has always been my hero, my rock, and since I can remember, my best friend. His story is like most who grew up in a small town. He dated the same girl throughout high school (my mother), joined the army at eighteen, completed two tours of duty, came home, married his high school sweet heart, and began his career in law enforcement. Along the way, things did not work out between them and he found himself caring for an eight year child on his own.
My father would often tell me later in life that he was afraid that he would not be able to be a good father to me, which has always been hard for me to fathom. The main reason for this, to quote my father, “I didn’t know what the hell I was doing”. My father approached this like he did everything in life, meeting it head on. He adapted and settled into life as a single father. One of the first things my father had to learn was how to cook, after months of only eating steaks and grilling cheese burgers every night. Although my friends thought that I had the best father in the world and it was the coolest thing ever to be able to grill out every night. I did not realize it at the time, but he had already begun the process of showing me what a father will do to ensure that his child or children are taken care of.
Due to my father’s career, his schedule was very hectic, but he always made sure that he would make time for me, no matter what. Since it was just my father and I, he would always make sure that the holidays were special for me. Every Christmas we decorated the tree together, and afterwards we would sit and look at the lights together in silence. I remember he would always have a little smile on his face and when I asked him what he was smiling at he would just say that every day was special and should be treated as such. Once again, I did not realize it at the time, but he was teaching me another wonderful life lesson that would guide me into the man I am today.
Growing into to my teen years, as most teens do, became stubborn and believed that I knew everything. My father, now a seasoned veteran at parenting, remained patient and did as he always did, guided me through this period in his own way. My father realized that I was growing restless and that the temptations of the the world would be calling to me. So, he placed me in sports during the school years, and always made sure that I had the absolute worst and back breaking summer job ever. Of course, being an all knowing teen, I assumed that my father was a tyrant and just did not understand me. His theory was, if I was exhausted at the end of the work day, then I would be too exhausted to be tempted to venture into the world that he knew all to well.
Now that I am a father, I look back at all the lessons and love what my father has shown me. I realize that I am who I am today because of my father. My father and I are still best friends and we talk on the phone at least three to four times a week, even if it is just to talk about the weather. That need to connect is something that I now understand – you always make time for your family. My father will say to me, “son I am proud of you, of the man you have become.” I can’t help but laugh, because I am the one who is proud. I owe everything in my life to the man who I consider my own personal super hero. I often think of that first time he told me of his fear of not knowing what to do. Well, Dad, that is the only time I can honestly say, you were wrong.