For me, what it means to be a father has always included the realization of parental responsibilities that include having the children know they're unconditionally loved, protecting them from harm as much as possible, instilling in them awareness of their importance as human beings and providing role-model guidance to teach them right from wrong. They also should know the most significant and heartwarming lifetime occurrence provided ME were their births and subsequent lives, making me so genuinely proud of the two daughters I was blessed to help create.
Losing my younger daughter to ovarian cancer at her young age, 54, August 30, 2017, has made each Father's Day since then very bittersweet. I know I'll never be able to accept the fact she's gone and the pain of her loss permanent. I also need to accept the fact she made the world a much better place and was the extraordinarily wonderful human being she was, making EVERY day Father's Day.
Aside from that sadness that perpetually permeates, I still have the privilege and joy to know my other child is still alive. She just celebrated her 58th birthday. What maximum reality and epiphany can life bring to a man than being the male-side of being responsible for the creation of a human being? I think the answer is "None".
Some additional thoughts about what it means to be a father, at least THIS father:
- Seeing and holding those dear, innocent babies for the first time, it generated being more convinced than ever there's something in this universe far beyond what we can comprehend and are perhaps not supposed to.
- Watching and enjoying the wonderment of the children's development: From crawling to walking to running; from playing with Tinkertoys to blocks to board games; from hearing their joyful sounds emerging while learning to talk to becoming truly articulate adults; from tricycle-riding to bicycle-riding to learning how to drive; from the anticipation of attending young friends birthday parties to birthday parties of their own; from their first days in nursery school to preparation for and graduations from, grade school and high school and all the years of education that encompassed those significant times.
- Experiencing their reactions to what made them happy or motivated them to think more about life while watching live theater productions, television and movies.They truly had me living life vicariously through them during those special growth times. ALL times with them were special and still ARE with my one remaining child/daughter.
- Seeing them emerge from toddlers to children to adults and all the nuances and occurrences that were parts of those years and being so infinitely proud to just BE with them as they developed and became the truly wonderful women and mothers they'd become.
It would be impossible, for me, at least, to fully-describe the honor it has been to be the father of the two wonderful daughters who blessed my life. They also blessed me (and their mother, of course), with a total of four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
If what I've described in regard to what it means to be a father has been perhaps too sentimental, I respectfully apologize, but what I've written has been honestly, with my heartfelt feelings stated. For any fathers reading this, I think what I've expressed may have covered many of YOUR thoughts, too. Happy Fathers Day and thank you for reading, as always.