This month of celebrating fathers is bittersweet for me. I am caught between celebrating my husband and missing my father terribly.
As the years pass, the pain and sadness of my father being gone eases a bit more. In recent years, I have made it through Father’s Day without crying at all. It’s a milestone. The day used to start with sobbing and continue with silent tears for the remainder.
This year my spirit experienced a shift. I have never been one of those people to easily adopt surrogate parents. My sister is a person who has many, and it has always made me wonder how she could so easily call someone else Mom or Dad.
With 2016, there came a peace with calling another man Dad who wasn’t my biological dad. I have always called my father-in-love “Dad” because I felt he deserved my respect, and Randy B is such an easy guy to love. Until recently, I’ve always carried a tinge of guilt or a feeling of “eh” afterward. My Dad was the most special person in the world to me. He was truly exceptional in the Dad Department. The man went through Chemo then picked me up from school everyday, helped with my homework, and kept me on the tennis court. He just never stopped.
Much like my biological father, my father-in love has given me practical advice, warm, firm hugs, compliments in only the way Randy can (“You look good, girl!”), not so gentle nudges where he’s encouraging me to speak up, and most of all, showing up when he knows he’s needed (with my mother-in-love of course). JUST like any daddy who loves his daughter would.
You’re still wondering what tipped the bucket, right? My father-in-love had a stroke 10 years ago, and as a result, he doesn’t communicate in written form much at all. But during one of the toughest points for me this year, I opened a card and there was a hand written message from BOTH of my in-loves. That moment was major. I smiled and thought: Dad is my father. Then I cried sloppy tears.
I am so thankful for the unexpected blessing of a second father.
Happy Fathers’ Day to each and every father out there. You are needed, loved, and appreciated!