To all the dads I love

Father’s Day hasn’t been celebrated the same for me since 2008, when my own Dad died.

Now, instead of buying him something he really didn’t need or want, but would graciously smile at and thank me for anyway, I reflect on the 42 years I had him.

I think he would think that was an even better gift, and no returns are necessary.

It’s a paradigm shift to go from celebrating to reflecting, and while it’s not my preferred way to spend Father’s Day it is an unwavering fact of life.

In this reflection, I’ve learned to appreciate what he brought to the table more than I did before, both literally and figuratively.

To honor my father, I now celebrate a couple of special men in my life whom I revere and are also fathers – my husband and son-in-law.

I spent the past week in South Carolina with my daughter, her husband and son and got to witness first-hand what modern parenting looks like in their natural habitat.

My heart is happy to report that my son-in-law, Branden, is everything I could ever ask for as a husband for my daughter and a loving, patient Dad for the little man he and my daughter brought into this world.

His unabashed love for his son, his patience, willingness to be an all-hands-on-deck kind of man are the kinds of things worth acknowledging and celebrating.

As a mother and grandmother, the blessing of him in our lives is a gift in itself.

Then, there’s my husband. Like many families are now constructed, Bobby is not the biological father of my two children. But it would be difficult to tell that from looking.

I am one of the luckiest people I know to have a husband who takes my kids as an extension of myself and loves them fiercely, and genuinely.

My Dad would be proud, he would smile and consider it his gift, too.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads – biological and step, granddads and special uncles. Celebrate those who are still here, doing their work to love the next generation; and reflect on those who made us who we are.

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One thought on “To all the dads I love

  1. Good column Kari! And you are 100% right – Daddy would LOVE Bobby and Branden. I think the greatest gift a parent could be given is for his/her children to have loving and involved mates who “love fiercely and genuinely”.

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