If he could see me now I wonder what he would say. Would he understand that much of who I am today is due to his loving and tender ways? Would he know that nothing ever shattered my heart as painfully as the day I had to let him go without ever having the chance to say goodbye or to thank him for showing me the way?
If I had the time, surely I could tell you a tale of a truly good man with gentle hands who raised a child not his own. An incredible story it would be, an epic tale of love; he was without a doubt my best friend, the one I always turned to in life to make things right. His very existence was one of live and let live; forgiveness coming easily to his joyous heart. He brought laughter into the lives of those who for a time found themselves lost in sorrow and wisdom for those who got temporally lost in confusion. I have to wonder where I would be now if I had never been blessed enough to know him.
Yet since his passing others have come to ease the pain, some who also now have gone and those who still remain. As I sit here pen in hand prepared to write a tribute to dads around the world I have to take the time to reflect on all those who have touched my life since my dad’s passing seven years ago.
Looking back on the times I shared with all the incredible men who have graced my life with their presence and what made those men so special I am reminded of what it takes for one in our society today to truly be a great man. It is touching to me when I consider the challenges they face and the sacrifices they choose to make. In our world of materialistic power hungry individuals, who is there at the end of the day to thank them when they take the time to put aside the need to make money and instead fulfill the need to just simply be a part of their family.
It is a hard world in which to be a good man; the expectations are high and the obstacles to their success are many. The need to provide is pressing as the economy becomes more strained and finding employment more difficult. Yet beyond the societal expectations of a man to provide and care for his family there lays an internal inborn instinct to protect and feed both the woman he loves and the children he helped to create.
So he works long hours, exhausting himself to live up to those self imposed standards of what it is to be a man only to come home and be reminded that his family need his love as much as if not more so than his money. He gives it. List the things that daddy’s do and we will be here for as long as time but from helping with homework, to playing games and cooking dinner, building tree forts and cutting the lawn to taking the time to stop off on the way home to buy his wife flowers he gives more of himself just by simply being there when they need him than many of us could hope or dream for. It is these things that are what it means in our world today to be a man.
As father’s day approaches it is expected that we honor these selfless actions with gratitude and touching tributes to all the dads out there who give us thier everything just to make us smile. The problem is we often forget to pay homage to another amazing group of people who also take the time in their own way to do the same.
What about the big brother? Can you not always call on him to listen to you while you pour your broken heart out? The Grandfathers; did they not take the time to teach you how to build things, how to appreciate nature by taking you for walks in the park or the bush and carefully pointing out and naming all the wonderful plants and animals you happened to encounter on your adventures? The uncles who either took you camping or to movies you just know mom and dad would never have let you see had they known? Even the annoying cousins in your youth that pulled your hair or threw worms at you then laughed hysterically at your feeble attempts to beat at them with your scrawny little girl arms. How about every single male friend you have ever had who agreed wholeheartedly that yes that man simply did not deserve you or the ones who showed up at your door at 7 am on a Saturday morning half asleep and still hurting form the night before simply because yes they did promise they would be there to help you move. To present day at work and all the gentlemen you encounter who lift things for you, open doors for you when your arms are full, and open doors for you when your arms are not.
How far do we go to show them our appreciation? How often do we take the time to show our gratitude for all the little things they do that make such a large unforgettable impact on our lives?
I remember growing up knowing that no matter what I did, what mistake I made my daddy’s arms would always be there open and waiting to enfold me, a warm comforting embrace of unspoken support until the tears would finally cease to flow. When I see the light of love shining in my daughters fathers eyes I find that same warmth and comfort comes with the knowledge that she too will always have a home in daddy’s arms.
What I’m afraid I don’t remember is ever telling any of them just how much those moments meant or how strong and lasting an imprint they made on my heart. I’m afraid I, like many others before and after me, may have taken for granted just how precious those times were. They say it’s never too late to change and if I start today and spend the rest of my days saying a humble thank you for all the wonderful things the men in my life have done for me perhaps by the time I am ninety I will have finally managed to catch up.
Think for a moment about the men in your life. How have they changed your world? Who are they? How have their actions touched you? Have the words they have spoken ever lifted your spirits when you were down? Have they made you smile through your tears when you were desperately sad? Have they made your spirit soar when you thought that you would never again remember how to fly?
Think and then ask yourself...
What makes a man; that he be strong, just and fair?
What makes a good man; that when you need him, for whatever you need him, he be there?
So tonight as I set pen to paper to write my tribute to fathers everywhere I realize that it is men not just dads who keep us whole. They are after all our balance, our other half, the part of our life that makes us complete and without them all life would be very empty indeed.