Today is Father’s Day, a day that is tough for so many. Some have lost their fathers while others never knew their fathers or don’t have much of a relationship with their dad. My heart hurts for those of you without fathers who may grieving, disappointed, or even angry. It is my sincere prayer that you find peace and solace today, that your heart heals if it still broken, and that you have meaningful relationships with a father-figure which you cherish and can celebrate today.
I am grateful for I have beautiful relationship with my father; so I want to honor him today for all that he is to me and my sister, my mother (his wife), his grandchildren, his sons-in-love, his friends, his family, and all who have had the pleasure to meet this incredible man. His name is Alvin, and he’s my daddy! Yes, I still call him daddy at 43 years of age.
Our parents teach us life lessons throughout childhood and adulthood, and my father has taught me many.
- Quiet strength – It’s not only big muscles, loud voices, and heavy lifting that demonstrate strength and fortitude. My father’s voice is firm, his gaze steady, and his steps measured. With a single glance and my name uttered just so, I knew he meant business, i.e. come here now and do as instructed. No yelling required.
- Power of the written word – He strings together words, a symphony of nouns, verbs, and adjectives, creating a stirring melody that permeates the soul. He reads those words aloud with passion in a voice much like mine, deep, thoughtful, and soothing. It’s from my father that I fell in love with the written word, devouring books whenever possible while cultivating a love for writing as well. Even now, I wait expectantly for his feedback on my latest blog posts, still seeking his approval.
- Real love for and commitment to his wife and his family – Real love has so little to do with the romanticized version of which we dream. There are few fairy tales; and dashing knights and enchanted princesses are equally rare. Real love looks like choosing to come back home after a heated argument. It’s taking kids to sports’ practices or music lessons and cooking (or picking up) dinner after working all day. It’s showing up to serve even when he’s tired. And it’s focusing on the joyful moments while weathering the storms. He has taught me how to make sweet, refreshing lemonade even as life hurls sour lemons.
- Sanctity of marriage – My husband and I will celebrate 17 years of marriage this October. We have grown so much – more in love, more deeply committed, more spiritually connected, more emotionally intimate, and more in sync with each other’s needs and willingness to meet those needs. Because I have been married now for almost 2 decades, I know how hard the work of marriage is. Early on, there were days I wondered if I had done the right thing, if I had married the right man, or if I should have packed my bags and left. That’s just real talk. I also know that my husband is imperfect and flawed as I am; but our marriage is a gift from God. Our Heavenly Father purposely joined us together. Because of our divine union, we have created one of our most amazing contributions to the world by way of 3 beautiful children. My parents have been married for 43 years. While I have witnessed their marriage first as a child and now as an adult, I have little knowledge of the innerworkings of their relationship. I know they have had their challenges for I know how hard it can be to stay married. Marriage is a choice and a whole lot of work, but clearly my parents have chosen to honor their commitment and keep doing the work.
- Excellence as the standard – My father is rather particular much like my husband – his home, organized; his lawn, meticulously manicured; and his expectations, high. He strives for excellence daily and impressed that upon my sister and me. He expects that we will always do our best – not that we are perfect or that we won’t make mistakes but that we will always strive for excellence.
- Swag – My dad is dapper, fly, and he got that swag. Well, I don’t even know if the term “swag” is still cool; but he has been “styling and profiling” since we were introduced over 40 years ago. He takes pride in his appearance. He’s so clean that I borrowed a faux fur trench of his in high school, and I rocked that trench hard with compliments to boot.
- Hard work and the proverbial side hustle – We grew up a middle class family in Raleigh, North Carolina. We always had food on the table, were blessed to take regular family vacations, and never went without. Though he’s retired now, for years my dad worked his day job but always had an evening/weekend job so he could better provide for his family. Some weekends, my sister and I got to spend the day with him while he worked. We devised a fun game called “office roller derby” which consisted of us taking turns pushing each other down the hallway in an office rolling chair; such fun memories. He clearly passed down his appreciation for the “side hustle” as I have 3 other jobs myself. I admire his work ethic and willingness to do what it took to make sure his family had what we needed.
- Never to be intimidated – When I was but a little girl, my father often whispered into my ear, “Don’t be intimidated.” I have carried this simple 3-word refrain in my heart since he first uttered them. I often put these words on like a cloak of courage when my confidence is waning. Wrapped in self-assurance, I hold my head held higher and my voice is restored.
- Faith that grows – I was raised in the church, but my faith and personal relationship with my LORD and Savior has only deepened as I have entered adulthood and encountered difficulties and challenges. I have witnessed a similar spiritual maturity in my father that is beautiful to behold, and I am thankful that we openly share our love for Jesus with one another.
- Love – Maybe it’s cliché, but my father is the first man that loved me – the first to steal my heart, the first to tell me that I’m beautiful, and the first to confirm my value and my worth. In part, I am who I am because of who I see myself to be through his lens and my mother’s. What an extraordinary gift it is to receive my father’s generous and unending love.
Thank you, daddy! And, don’t worry, mom. Yours is coming next! I learned incredible life lessons from you both.