I have been blessed to know three great men in my life. Every year when father's day rolls around I am reminded to take the time to reflect on the importance of fathers and wonderful men in our lives. I'm a strong independent woman, but I love having the door opened for me and being treated with kindness and respect. As you have probably read, I was raised in the south and I was blessed to have men in my life who had what is considered "good manners"" It set a high standard for me as a woman, and while I have had to understand my husband is a man of the west, I am thankful he has learned to sand down some of those hard edges; he still opens the car door for me after 12 years together so we must be doing something right.
My grandfather is the first man I remember looking up to. We lived with my grandparents for a time when I was a little girl. I remember him teaching me to tie my shoes; which arm was right and which arm was left; churning the homemade ice cream with him; those many summer days riding on his lap as he mowed the lawn. My grandfather was soft spoken and when things were serious enough for him to raise his voice, you stopped to listen. I never remember him yelling or speaking harshly to anyone. Most of all, I remember how safe and loved I felt. He was someone I could always count on to listen and be there for me. He taught me what loving someone looks like. He loves my grandmother, and shows it in a million little ways. I love that she has never filled up the gas tank of her car, though she surely can...it's just a little gift he does for her. Sometimes I tease my husband that if he really loved me the car would be warmed up anytime I have to go out in the winter, just like grand dad did for his sweetheart. My Grandfather taught me to love.
When I was seven, my mom married the man I consider to be my dad. He adopted my brother and I. He is the only father I have ever known. He loved us as his own and there were no differences made between us and the children he had with my mom. As a matter of fact, many people had no clue we were a blended family. He made every effort to discover the things each of us kids were passionate about. He taught me to love history and made it come alive by taking us to many historical sites around the country. Dad loved to travel and I'm a gypsy at heart because of the many family trips I was blessed with. He wasn't perfect; no parent is, but I knew I was loved. He was man who loved to give and to make others smile. Many people have told me they have a hard time telling which kids are which in our family...whose they "really" belong to. I laugh...it is as it should be! My dad taught me to see with the eyes of the heart.
My husband took on a woman with 4 small kids with a lot of healing which needed to occur. After some pretty traumatic and trying years I had very little ability to trust. My children and I needed time to heal. It took a lot of patience from him in the early years as we navigated a new life in Montana. I know there have been times when he has probably wanted to throw up his hands in disgust, but he patiently tried again and again to look at things from a new point of view. As hard as it has been for me to adjust to farm life, he has helped me conquer my many fears and to face challenging events with a lot of love and laughter. Ten years ago you would not have found me comfortable navigating a river in a canoe with my children on board ; riding on the back of a motorcycle ; shooting a pistol. I can happily say I feel safe and secure enough to try new things. My husband has taught me to trust.
Celebrating Father's Day comes with a little sadness each year since my dad passed away in 2000. I miss him more and more. I was watching my son play basketball the other day and remembered playing field hockey, and looking up to see my dad watching me and cheering me on; sometimes he would travel from long distances to catch a game. I know he'd get a big kick out of his grand kids and would be so proud of all their accomplishments.
My Grandfather lives in Georgia, which sometimes feels planets away from us. His visits to Montana are a highlight of my year and I am thankful my children have gotten to spend some time with one of the greatest men I have ever known.
This Father's Day I am most thankful for my spouse. He is the kind of man I hope my sons become. He is the kind of man I hope my daughter's model their future mates after. Being married to a man of integrity and faithfulness is truly a blessing from heaven. He is a man we can count on to help us try again when we fail ; tells us not to give up when we want to throw in the towel; and is there to catch us when we fall!
I've been really lucky to know these three great men in my life and am very thankful for the roles they have played in the woman I have become.
Happy Father's Day.