Celebrate your dad this weekend.
My dad's been gone for 3 1/2 years. I can't believe that much time has passed since I last saw his face.
Heard his laugh.
Touched his hand.
Shared a conversation.
Watched a football game with him.
Time truly does go on, though when we lost him so unexpectedly, it seemed as if the world had stopped turning for my family.
We've somehow managed to put the pieces back together, though a huge chunk of the puzzle will forever be missing.
But bits of him are evident in all of us.
We see a picture and realize how much one of them looks like him. We hear them talking and are reminded of things he used to say.
A Tribute To My Dad
He was a man who loved life. Oh, he wasn't perfect, and I wouldn't want to paint him in that impossible color. He had a stubborn streak, and when he made up his mind, well, that was that.
Though he wasn't perfect, he was a perfectionist. If he did something, you knew it was done correctly and with precision. Hard work was in his blood.
He was a gentle soul, and he loved each of us with all his heart.
My parents had the kind of marriage that is rare these days, built on mutual love and respect. It is this example I strive for in my own marriage.
Dad loved music of many genres, but rock music moved him the most. The golden oldies were his favorite. I can picture just how he would tilt his head, close his eyes, and sing along letting the music take him away.
He had a jolly side, and loved to laugh. Jokes were more funny when he was around, and his laughter was contagious, even if you didn't get the punch-line. He always bungled the telling of a joke, but that made it all the more fun.
July 4th was a special holiday, because he absolutely adored setting off fireworks. There were times the entire neighborhood would gather to watch. He passed this love onto his grandchildren, and they continue the tradition to this day in his honor.
A loyal Eagles fan all his life, I'm sure I heard his yell in my ear at the moment when our birds won the superbowl on February 4th. He would come over to watch every game in our house, and neighbors down the street could always guess how the game was going. I wish he could've seen the big win.
Though my heart hurts with missing him, I also celebrate how lucky I was to be raised by this wonderful man.
I would not be the person I am today if not for him. We were very similar, he and I.
(I will not post a picture here out of respect for him. He was not a fan of social media, and felt very strongly that people should not share pictures this way, so I will not.)
Celebrate Your 'Dads' Today
And so, this Father's Day, we will visit the cemetary, and think of Dad long after we leave that plot of ground.
But I will also send up a prayer of thanksgiving that I still have others in my life that I can honor on this holiday.
My husband, my best friend. My rock. My biggest fan. My love. In a storm of despair and loss, he has been my constant shelter from the wind. Not to mention what an amazing dad he is to our sons.
My father-in-law. Another positive role-model in our lives, he always has a hug and smile for everyone. We know how lucky we are to be able to celebrate Father's Day with him this year, and hopefully for many more to come. I'm proud to call him "Dad."
Whatever you're doing this Father's Day, make sure to stop and give thanks for all the dads in your life. Fathers, Step-dads, In-laws, Godfathers, uncles, pet-dads. Dads come in many forms.
Life is so short. You truly never know how many more holidays you have with your loved ones. It could be days. Hours. Minutes.
Celebrate them. Yes, even the things that drive you crazy today. You could be missing those little things tomorrow.
Happy Father's Day!
Kristen L. Jackson, Author of KEEPER OF THE WATCH
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