June 23, 2016
I’ve been blessed by having some amazing men in my life.
For years, my father worked two jobs to provide for his family. He poured love into the activities we shared, from weekends in the Laurel Mountains to family picnics at parks. He rescued me when I’d climb too high and, like a kitten, become stuck and frozen. The smell of his aftershave reminds me of the times I sat at his feet as he prepared for work, ridding his face of thick, dark hair. He listened for our breathing when we were infants and watched over our swimming, wary and ready. He set off fireworks to delight us and, to our dismay, ate anchovies on pizza. My father is a man of few words, yet a strong person with deep convictions. I’d be lying if I said we always saw eye-to-eye, but he taught me to be courageous and express my opinions, even if they differed from his. I treasure his example of undying devotion. To this day, his adoration of my mom is evident in his playful hand holding and dances in the kitchen. My mom is a dynamo, and Dad often stays behind to hold down the home front while she sets out on an adventure. He shaped my definition of romantic and marital love. The kids love their Poppy for good reason.
Godfathers. Spiritual guides. People who encourage their charges along their divine journey. I treasure correspondence from my Godfather, John. He sent me thoughtful gifts with heartfelt missives, and I feel his presence at times, watching from Heaven to see if I’ve kept to the moral path. I chose amazing men to serve as Godfathers for my own children, and I’m grateful for them all.
My brother and brother-in-law demonstrate love through devotion to their kids’ activities. They ferry kids and attend band concerts and dances, softball and soccer games, karate matches, and swim meets. From academic honors to auditions in New York City, these men arrange their lives to accommodate their children’s growth. Further, Chris and Patrick open their hearts to my brood and include my children in many aspects of their lives.
Then there’s my husband. At the time we met, he was navigating single-parenthood after the untimely death of his wife. His children possessed charm, patience, and wisdom, and the love he poured into their care inspired me. When we married, he embraced my little girls, though they’re not his blood. He fathered our littlest and provides an excellent example of parenthood for all our children. His generosity of spirit and pervasive calm bring stability to our lives. I can only assume the strong-willed man I married owes much of his grit and backbone to his father and grandfather.
That’s the thing about fathers. They teach their young to stick with tasks even when the task is difficult. Some may not cheerlead, but when they offer a congratulatory word, the authenticity rings through. Many tell their kids to be strong and stand up for what’s right. Though some say little, fathers leave lasting impressions on their progeny. I pray fathers everywhere provide positive influences for the youngsters in their lives, as have the men in my life.
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