Everybody has a “dad.” In the magic of life the process cannot be completed without male involvement. Even those that have never met their paternal half, the guy in general still exists. The thing about life is that while everyone born has a “dad,” not everyone has a father.
I am lucky to have both. My dad, the man who provided the sperm to the egg that created me, is also the man who has raised me, cared for me, and to this day handles life’s hardest battles with me. My father is an amazing man.
My father has worked his whole life to provide for his family. Since the day he became a dad he has put his needs and wants second to that of his family unit. My father has devoted over 35 years to being the best he could possibly be in life. Life is not about things always being easy. Life is hard. Relationships are trying, and raising a family is difficult. My daddy is the glue that always held everything together, firm and strong.
Growing up my daddy was the coach for every team my brother and I were on. He worked more than 40 hours a week, climbing his way up the ladder in a business that he would eventually make thrive. He did this all while also going to get another two degrees in college and never missing a beat in life with us kids. Looking back, I have no idea when the man slept.
My daddy was there every night to sit at the dinner table with us, ask us how our day was, help us with our homework and he was the one who held the iron fist of discipline. My dad was a guy who was spread so thin and exhausted but his children never knew. He was always there for us, no matter what we needed.
He taught us kids how to do every sport, play instruments, negotiate arguments and how to be independent. My mom always says that my daddy wanted one thing for his daughter; he wanted her to be a strong and independent woman when she grew up. He’s dedicated 33 years to that very thing. I think he succeeded.
My father never really sits still. He has very bad psoriatic arthritis and has struggled with it since I was born. He has never once complained. The doctors told him when I was little that he needed to take it easy or he would end up in a wheelchair. My father didn’t listen. My memories of softball are not of how horrible my teams played but of my dad shoving his crooked swollen hands and fingers into his baseball glove, and how his pinky fingers naturally wrapped around the ball without moving them. He taught me to push through life’s bullshit.
He never complained. He would wake up some days with a joint swollen 8x its normal size, but he would push on. He has worked his whole life crashing through whatever glass ceiling was above him. He taught us kids that no matter how good or bad we were at something it is that we tried our very best that counted. I was horrible at piano and math and yet he sat with me countless hours until I had the confidence that I could do it correctly myself.
My brother was the one who was automatically great at everything. He was naturally smart, athletic, and got a long with people without problems. I was the opposite. I had learning delays; I was a ginormous klutz and my mouth made it near impossible for me to have smooth relationships. My dad was the guy who would sit at the table and slam his fist to get me to eat a food I was rebelling against. He was the guy that would sit there for hours if need be until the power struggle was won and I learned life lessons by the way he parented me. I was not an easy child and he in retrospect handled me impeccably. I would not be who I am without his amazing ability to manage through difficult situations.
My daddy was the guy who taught me how to drive. I remember in the parking lot he told me, “its ok to use the gas petal” when I was afraid to do anything but coast at 2mph. My dad was the man who rigged my first car so that the seatbelt alarm NEVER stopped a horrid buzzing until my seatbelt was on. My daddy was the man who changed the oil, taught me how to install brake pads and damn well ensured that I knew how to change a tire on the side of the road.
My father was the guy who bought my brother a welder so that he could build himself a go-cart and eventually his first vehicle at the age of 10. My dad knew my brother was above average intelligence and so he continually found ways to keep him interested in life and learning through experience. My dad would spend hours with his swollen fingers out in the cold garage rebuilding engines and fixing things with my brother. He is the same guy that then would come in the house and play dolls with me.
Parenting isn’t easy. Every child has some sort of issue or battle. I had several. My dad adjusted his life to deal with each life issue I tossed at him. My problems were never true “crisis” matters because my parents stopped my behavior long before it caused an actual issue. They instilled deep-rooted values and compassion into my personality that to this day is the foundation of which I pull from to continue on with life.
My father was the guy who came over to my first apartment and picked me up off the floor in a teary-drooly-dramatic-mess after my first long term boyfriend and I broke up. My daddy was the guy who drove 15 hours to come pack up my first house when my husband left. My dad never judged me, never blamed me, and always supported me. My dad would turn everything into a learning moment. He can arrange wording so well that even if I did something ridiculous and it was my fault in life he made it so that I would not feel bad but be introspective and think about the future rather than past. My dad made me strong. He has always been there to pick me up when I fall, always holding me up when I’m leaning and best of all he is always standing beside me when I succeed.
My father made sure that the relationship I had with my mom was #1 in my life. He is the guy who during those rocky years of late adolescence and early adulthood made sure I always respected and gave love to my mom. She is my best friend and it is through my father this relationship was able to be what it is. He refused anything other than the highest respect shown towards his other half, and the love that they showed for each other implanted into me exactly what a partnership should be.
They were a team. They were the best team, never playing negatively off the other. My father was the disciplinarian but he rarely had to lay a hand. He at a very early age had me figured out and knew that I responded much more to the mental game of life. He would explain to me how my behavior affected others. He would make me feel major guilt and sometimes embarrassment well before he would turn to punishment. I would always say “Well I didn’t think that it was a big deal” he would respond with “THAT’S THE PROBLEM YOU DIDN’T THINK!” I cannot count how many times in life we’ve had that conversation.
During my late teen years and early adolescence my dad was a true stallion. I think for every family those are the most difficult years of child rendering. I came home late a few times and instead of punishing me he would sit me down and explain how coming in late woke him up and caused him to be tired for the next day and about how that was a problem. He made me think about the big picture in life and how my actions cause effects to others than myself.
I learned from him. He guided me; scaffolded me, and most of all loved me. He has never been the type of guy to say, “I love you” or give hugs and kisses. He shows love by doing things, teaching, and simply always being present. My father showed me how to be loved, receive love and most of all he instilled in me from the youngest age that I was to be respected, not only as a woman but also as a human being.
In life everyone has a “dad,” but my father is above and beyond the true definition of that. He is more like a mystical creature. He is the man I call when my ceiling fan isn’t working, whenever I’ve had problems at work, whenever I am sick and he is by far the first I contact if I have questions about life. It is my father that I turn to because I know he is and always has been the stable-constant in my life. He is such an amazing man and I wish that everyone was able to have such a figure.
I wish there were more fathers in this world. If the planet had more people like my father, most of the issues in the world would dissolve. I know my daddy would say he is just a “simple man” but in my eyes, as a grown adult woman, he is above and beyond that of a “simple man” he is the closest thing to Clark Kent I have ever met. My father is a stubborn hard headed man who I thank God for everyday.