I had a strict father. His father was a Baptist minister that raised him and his siblings alone. Therefore, with a stern hand. My dad left and joined the Air Force. When he became my father, he was a little out of practice. He and my mother married when I was five. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to see my mother glowing with love and happiness and I finally had someone to call "Dad."
As I got older and more rebellious, Dad and I weren't great friends. My mother tried in vain to explain his 'ways' to me and explain my childishness to him. I left to escape his "tyranny" when I was 17 and never spoke to him again.
I found out about his cancer from my mother. He didn't want her to tell me, but she knew that deep down we both loved each other. I was angry, slightly satisfied and....angry.
But then my heart broke. This man wasn't the dad from Leave it to Beaver; he was my dad and the only dad I knew. Despite the fact that we hadn't spoken in years; it hit me with stunning force that he wouldn't be available forever. It hit me even harder that my younger brother and sister and my strong, glowing mother would be without him forever.
I was never able to speak to my dad before he passed away. His pride and stubbornness got in the way. But I forgive him, I love him and I like to think that somewhere out there, he would talk to me now, if he could.
The father my husband has become blows me out of the water. Despite his disability, he goes through the pain to fix a bike or a car. He grills dinner and teaches his children everything he knows as he goes along. They look to him with love, pride and wonderment. I love it. I love watching him teach, discipline and play. He's not at all like my dad. He sucks at discipline. :0) He loves to tease and joke and make the kids smile. He backs up and apologizes when he's wrong. He protects them fiercely-sometimes a little too fiercely...but I love it. I admire his transformation, the lessons he learns and remembers from day to day. I am one lucky person to have him as my children's father.
So, to fathers of all kinds; strict, playful, busy, adopted, step, or granddad.... Happy Father's Day. I hope it's the best one yet.