In just a few days, it will mark the eleventh year since my dad was lifted up to heaven by angels. Because of this, Father’s Day always becomes somewhat of a nostalgic and bittersweet time of the year. The year he passed, my second son, Gus, had just been born three weeks before. On Father’s Day of that year, I sat by his side while he attempted to watch television from his bed, gave him a Tommy Bahama shirt that he would never have the chance to wear, and talk to him about how amazing of a father he truly was.
My dad was the hardest working person I have ever met in my life. He showed me that if you put effort into something, you can do anything that you can dream of. He cared about me and was always striving to influence.
Every Saturday morning he would take me to the local donut shop. He would have black decaf coffee and I would have orange juice. He’d choose an apple fritter and I would have a Boston creme. My dad always talked to the shop owner and included me in the conversation. My dad always asked me what was going on in my life. He was the ultimate listener. He was a salesman and he had this ability to listen to every word I said. He never interrupted to share his thoughts, he listened and assessed. He’d sprinkle in his thoughts, and of course let his opinion be known, but he never pushed his opinion on me.
On warmer Saturday mornings, we would often head to the local municipal golf course and play nine holes of golf. He took the time to build me a putting green in the backyard and let me know, that if I ever went into the business world, golf was a great way to connect with clients. I learned he was right during my early years of selling tools and medical devices.
My dad encouraged me to buy my first home in my early twenties and taught me the power of purchasing a “fixer upper”. He took me to the tile store and showed me the difference of cement board and green board. He gave me a drill set as a housewarming present and taught me how to use it. He made me believe I could do anything and to not be afraid of trying something new.
My dad often had a vocal opinion about whomever I was dating. He had no qualms about letting me know if someone was the right fit for me, and although I may not have always agreed with his thoughts at the time, I realized that he was right. Then one day, I introduced him to Andy.
He had nothing but happiness in his heart when he met him. He knew, just like I knew, that he was the one for me. Of course, he tested him, but had no doubts that he would forever support me in our lives together. On the day Andy and I got married, my dad walked me down the aisle and beamed knowing that he was leading me to the right man, my forever man.
Almost sixteen years, four children, and four houses later, I realize how right my dad was. Andy continues to surprise me in the most subtle ways. What I see in him, is so much of what my dad was to me, and influencer to our children.
He encourages the boys and shares with them that effort is key in everything they do. He lets them know that respect is never sacrificed and arrogance is not favorable. He teaches my girls they can do anything they want to in this world, whether it be an American Ninja Warrior or a veterinarian. He makes them pancakes and bacon on Sunday mornings before mass. He takes them out fishing to catch the largest smallmouth bass in the lake. He fills up the inflatable pool with water on a warm summer day when they ask.
He makes no excuses and he supports these monkeys. I know they may not know it now, but someday they will realize how much of an influence their dad has been on their lives.
Finally, I just have to say, while I have been blessed to have had an amazing dad, and be married to an incredible dad to my children, I also have the most special and kind dad-in-law. He already had four children, but on the day I said “I do!” to his son, he scooped me up as one of his own. My children only have one living “Papa” and I can say, he does the work of two. He is the kindest man I know.
God’s plan is incredible. I look at the circle of fathers that influence my life and my children’s lives and I am mesmerized by how it all came together. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for all three of these incredible men.
Happy Father’s Day to you and all the dads in heaven and on earth.
Make it a great day!