Tomorrow is Father’s Day and for me the day is bittersweet. The sweet part is that I am the father of two wonderful daughters. They are 15 and 11. They have brought so much joy to my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is so exciting seeing them mature into nice young ladies. I have always heard that you kids grow up so fast and now I completely understand. It seems just like yesterday that we brought each one of them home from the hospital and had that first sleepless night checking on them every two minutes. I absolutely love being a dad and I strive to be a good one.
The bitter part is that my dad passed away in December of 1999. Let me just say, if I can be half the man he was, then I would be doing great. He truly was the best man that I have ever known. If you could have a role model and a hero, he was it.
When I was very young I remember sitting on his lap in the front passenger seat on long trips. This was way before the seatbelt and car seat laws. Looking back, I guess it wasn’t very safe, but everyone did it. We would play the games while traveling, such as the ABC game where you have to find all of the letters of the alphabet in order on the road signs as you passed them. He would always take the time to play with my older brother and I whether it was a game of Horse basketball in the back yard or helping us set up a model train set.
As I got older, he supported me in my sports. I played football and was a part of the wrestling team in high school. He would buy equipment and shoes. He took the time and would come to practices and all of the games and meets. I never really felt like we did without too much. Dad was always there to give a helping hand. Even with school projects. I remember one science project in particular that he made wooden bird feeders and helped me paint them different colors. We wanted to test to see if the birds preferred a particular color of bird feeder.
As I went through college he helped me get a nice job where the hours worked perfectly for my schoolwork load. I drove school mail vans from noon to 4:00 each day. My dad worked for the school corporation where I am employed now. He was the supervisor of Media Services, ran the school textbook store, was in charge of AV repair, the professional materials center, and internal school mail. He was always looking out for me. He was always there for me.
I followed in his footsteps and majored in education to become a teacher. He started as an industrial arts teacher at a school where I had the pleasure of working for one year. The funny thing is, I taught in the exact room that he taught in. In had been converted into a fourth grade classroom by the time I got there. It interesting the way things work out.
As I got married and got started in real life, he was still there for me. I guess you could say that I was pretty relaxed those first few years. I always felt like, if things got bad, dad would be there. My wife and I had our first child none too soon. My father got to spend a year and half with her before he passed. I have never seen him any happier than when he was with his granddaughter. She was the apple of his eye. I am only sad that he didn’t get to meet my youngest daughter and my two nephews. He would have been out of his skin crazy with four grandchildren to play with.
He taught me many things, like how to treat your wife. Both my mother and father were great examples of what a marriage should be like. He taught me about Jesus and how to pray. He taught me how to be honest and know right from wrong. He taught me to have character and integrity. He taught me how to have a good work ethic. He taught me how to treat others. While at the funeral home, during the visitation, people were backed out of the door for three solid hours. I never heard one negative comment about my dad. I never new how many lives he had touched as people came through and went on and one about how he helped them in one way or another.
When you lose a love one, people always say that it will just take time. Well this December it will be 13 years that I have been without him. I sure don’t miss him any less today then I did that first year that he was gone. That whole time healing thing is a farce. I know that he is in a better place and one day I will see him again. Until then, I still love him and miss him greatly!