I have absolutely no memory of my father. He and my mother had married as teenagers when they became pregnant with me, but very soon the marriage ended.
As a toddler, I visited my father every other weekend. From what I was told, I simply adored him and greatly looked forward to our regular visits. But, over time, the visits became few and far between. I wouldn’t see my father again until more than 35 years later, ironically, at his funeral. Looking upon his lifeless body for any sense of resemblance or recollection and finding none, I couldn’t help but to feel sorrow. Although we had not had a relationship, I knew at that moment that I would never be presented with the opportunity to reconnect and call him “daddy.”
But I am so very thankful that I’ve had other father figures in my life, most notably my grandfather who made me feel loved and adored every single day he was alive. He was tall, strong and beautiful, and would sweep me up in his arms and ask, “How’s my grandbaby?!” I would hug him hard and bury my nose in his neck to smell his Old Spice cologne. After he passed away in 1983, my uncles served as surrogate male figures with sporadic visits over the holidays, reunions and other family gatherings.
Now when I look upon my kids, I can’t help but to think how extremely fortunate they are, for many reasons, but especially because they have two loving parents to support and raise them.
When my husband and I started dating, I would tell him on numerous occasions, “Do you realize how lucky you are to have had two parents at home?” He would shrug his shoulders nonchalantly because that was all he had ever known. Even now, his parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this year and seem just as in love today as they must have been when they first met over 50 years ago!
Not that the parents’ length of marriage is any reflection on the children but, I have to admit, my husband is an amazing father and provider. He is self-employed in the restaurant industry so his days can be extremely long, stressful and demanding, but he rarely complains. Due to his work schedule, he’s often unable to attend a particular event, game or function. At times I joke that I feel like a single parent because I have no one to accompany me to various events with the children. But he makes every effort to be there when we really need him.
My family often jokes that my husband is quiet and stoic but they have no idea how extremely funny and goofy he can be. I love to find him acting silly with the kids, playing hide-and-seek, camping out on the basement floor, or bringing milkshakes home to the kids when I’ve sent him to the store to buy trash bags. He is a loving, devoted, patient and kind father.
This year my husband and I will celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary and, when I look at him, I feel so extremely blessed that he is in my life and that my children have such a beautiful representation of what a husband, man and father should be. And whenever my children utter the word “daddy,” I can vicariously experience that joy in knowing that their childhood and their lives will be filled with wonderful memories of being loved, adored and wanted.