This One’s For You, Father Figures


This is for you, father figures. I would say “You know who you are.” but you probably don’t. You probably aren’t aware of the impact you had. You have no idea how much you shaped us. On this Father’s Day, here’s a little reminder of the good you did.

Here’s to you, uncles, and grandpas, and godfathers, for teaching us how to catch, tell time, or tie a shoe. Thanks for being patient with grandma and showing us what love looked like when she yelled at you for your slow driving. Thanks for the guidance and the wisdom, for the war stories, and all the birthday gifts. We knew how much we were loved because you rarely laughed so much, as when we were around.

Here’s to you, brothers, and cousins, and older, wiser friends. Thanks for not letting that kid bully us on the playground, for going to get mom when we fell and cut ourselves, for letting us tag along, and for all the great advice you gave us on, well, just about everything. You were our guides, one step ahead, and we got tougher knowing you were leading the way.

Here’s to you, teachers and mentors. You, who took the time to put the smiley face on the math test, or gave the high five after the school play. You, who challenged us and refused to accept anything less than our best effort. For helping us form our thoughts, for giving us knowledge, and for your time, you can’t be thanked enough. You’ll never know how much your approval meant.

Here’s to you, husbands, boyfriends, lovers. You caused us to find ourselves thinking, “So this is what it’s like to be held.”

And thank you, also, artists, storytellers, public figures, heroes, fictional and real. You gave us encouragement when we were lost, and gave us reasons to dream.

Thank you so much, healers, therapists, and doctors, for the reassuring smile before the shot, the lollipop for the tears kept in, and for showing us that healing is possible. Your confidence, skill, and patient manner take us through our fear even today.

Thank you fathers-in-law and fathers of friends. Whether it was the pat on the back for a burger well grilled on the Fourth of July, or just the fact that you signed the Christmas card, “Love you both, Papa.” You have no idea what it means to be accepted by you.

Shout out to the step dads, friends of Mom, and “friends” of Mom, for the time you were in our lives, we appreciate the support you gave the woman in our lives.
Thank you to all of you: the pastors, the neighbors, the bosses, the tutors, the volunteers, the troop leaders, the driving instructors, and all-around good men. You have no idea what it meant to have you in our corner. You didn’t think we saw that thing you did. We saw. You didn’t think we heard that thing you said. We heard. You didn’t think we felt the love you gave. We did. It made us.

For ALL the father figures, for being there when others weren’t or couldn’t, we can’t thank you enough. You showed us what a good man is, and taught us about what we could be. Happy Father’s Day. This one’s for you.