My father, who until a few years ago was technically my stepfather, is special. I know that most people would say the same thing, but most people don’t have a father who chose to be their father. As a young man, he took on the responsibility of two small children, giving up a two seater red sports car in the process. Granted, Sarah and I were very cute, but that only goes so far.
We couldn’t have found a better father if we shopped for one. Dad is one of those people that everyone likes, and with good reason. He’s invariably cheerful, easy to talk to and accepting of everyone he meets. He sees people as people, not defined by their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. I’ve always been proud to have people meet him.
I think I’ve learned more from Dad than any other one person. Some of the many things he’s taught me:
How to change a tire
How to pack efficiently (he can fit more stuff into a car than anyone I’ve ever met or heard of)
How to lay a wood floor
How to figure out a gadget without reading the manual
How to be caring, non-critical and nonjudgmental
How to be honorable and honest
How to be generous
I always felt sorry for friends whose fathers didn’t have the time or make the time to spend with them. I can’t imagine that. Dad has always found the time to spend with us. One thing that meant a lot to me when I was a little girl was his participation in a group called Indian Princess, a kind of Girl Scouts for fathers and daughters. I don’t even remember much about the activities, but the memory of spending that time together, just me and my Dad, is something I treasure.
I once saw a movie about a man who adopts his neighbor’s child and raises it as his own. When the child is grown and the man admits he’s not his “real” father, the son says, “A father is he who gives love, not he who gives life.” Thank you for 34 years of love, Dad.