My father was a wonderful man. He lived a life marked by hard times, perseverance, and personal success through hard work and sacrifice. He was my friend, my confidant, my teacher, and many other things. He taught me how to work hard. He taught me to have compassion for those who struggle with the challenges of life, big and small. He taught me to love the earth and the beauty of nature. He taught me to love photography. He taught me to respect the differences in those around me. He taught me to rise to the challenges placed before me. He taught me to be a better person. He loved me unconditionally (and I'm sure I gave him plenty of opportunities in my youth to demonstrate that it was truly unconditional). My father passed on thirteen years ago. I still miss him and our easy conversations about anything at all. I know he'd be pleased with the direction my life has taken and that makes me happy.
My husband is father to three terrific grown children from a previous marriage. Unlike most divorced fathers, there was a period during which he had custody of and raised the children. He knows what it is to make sacrifices for one's children. He, like my own father, loves his children unconditionally. While he is frank and forthright with them about their choices when he doesn't agree, he does not try to dictate to them what they should (or must do). He doesn't expect them to trade or barter their affections for money or things. He simply loves them as they are and expects the same in return. He respects that as young adults they have the right to choose for themselves. In spite of the often complicated circumstances of divorce, his children find consistency with him, never having to guess where they stand on any given day. While his children can find a friend in him, he knows that his most important role in his relationship to them is that of father, even when that is not the popular thing to do.
My husband and my father would have been good friends. This Father's Day I'm grateful to have had both of them in my life. Happy Father's Day.