Father's Day has come to mean a lot of different things to me. My biological father was in and out of the picture when I was very small, but mostly out. He was more interested in himself than me and my sister. When I was twelve, my mom met the man she would later marry who very quickly became "Daddy" to me. He adopted me as his own and I even came to be known by his last name in high school. It became a sort of nickname that I cherished. My Daddy (all Southern girls say Daddy and not Dad, no matter their age) and I have a very special bond.
Daddy doesn't really like homemade gifts. In fact, Daddy is very particular about all sorts of things and unless you're giving him a bottle of orange cleaner (he's a neat freak), you should probably stick to a gift card or taking him to dinner. Despite this, Mama told me a while back that Daddy still keeps all the cards I have made him and poems I have given him. The fridge at my parents' house still sports candid photos my dad snapped of me just before my high school prom and on my wedding day (at the moment I realized I had forgotten my bouquet!)
As a grandfather, Daddy is a combination of teddy bear and Santa Claus. The children love him! My son calls him "Papa" and while my dad is often befuddled by very small children, the little ones love him. They quickly win him over by crawling in his lap and laughing deliciously at all his silly faces.
Before Daddy, I celebrated my grandfathers and I still do. They filled a void for me growing up and I have always cherished the close and different relationships I have with each of them. My Mama's Daddy, called Poppy, really filled the fatherly role for us growing up. I still remember eating orange slices on his lap in the evenings and going with him to my very first baseball game. Go Braves! Poppy worked at the golf course and often smelled like fresh cut grass. I still really like that smell. To this day, he calls me "Monkey" and "Special."
My biological father may not have been very interested in being a part of our lives, but his dad, my Grandbaby, was always there. He was a writer, a fisherman, and a Southern Baptist minister. He wasn't the fire and brimstone kind, he was the "Pollyanna" kind. He taught me what it really means to be a Christian. I was an adult before I ever heard him say an unkind word to anyone and even then it shocked me. He so rarely raised his voice that if he did everyone knew we had best behave. He taught me to love Jesus, the ocean, and all God's people. He read to us every night that he was with us and prayed over us out loud. He fostered our imaginations by helping us to build Indian tee-pees in the yard and create elaborate costumes for our "plays."
When I got married, I chose a man who is a wonderful mix of these three special men. My husband has a great sense of humor like my Daddy and can always make me laugh. He is a hard worker and he loves sports like my Poppy. He is a Christian man who tries very hard to do what is right and loves me as Christ loves the Church, like my Grandbaby. I knew all that stuff when I married him. I knew he was, and is, the man God had chosen for me.
It wasn't until our son was born that I learned what kind of daddy my husband would be. He is an amazing daddy. Before our son was born, and now with our daughter on the way, he has forged a bond with both our children before they are even born. They both have known the sound of their father's voice and that he loves them before they have ever taken their first breaths. He plays with my son, guides him gently to make the right choices and do what is right, and showers him with love and affection.
My husband works hard to provide not only what our children need, but much of what they want. He is always bringing our son little surprises. While our daughter isn't here yet, he is already thinking of her. I sent him to pick up small hangers for her closet the other day and he came back with precious pink hangers, carefully chosen for the little girl he can't wait to meet.
Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful Dads in my life and all the other great dads out there too!
-The Crazy Earth Mama