To my birth father: I never knew you. I’m told you were very excited when I was born, and then you just abandoned us. I guess in those days it was just not accepted to have a child out of wedlock. And then you were murdered, so I never got the chance to meet you in later years. I don’t know where you are—heaven or hell—but I want to say thank you for giving me life. It hasn’t been a perfect life. But it’s been my life, to become what God planned for me from the foundation of the world. Pretty cool. I would have loved to meet you, to talk about family quirks and personalities, but that didn’t happen. All I know of you is what my mama told me about you (she loved you desperately, you know), the couple of photos I have, and the news articles detailing your death. Happy Father’s Day. I hold no grudges and no anger.
To Bob, the stepdad who raised me: You were a part of our lives from the time I was four or five, until your death in 1985. You are the “dad” who raised me. You, Bob, are the man who gave us childhood memories, who took us on vacations, who took lots of pictures and videos, who fed and clothed us, who escorted me down the aisle on my wedding day; the one who let me “work” in your office the summer I was 13 so I could learn a bit about the profession I ultimately pursued. If it weren’t for your picture-taking of our life’s events, I might have trouble remembering all the great things you did for us. Because alongside all the good, we had some rough patches. Some horribly, horribly rough patches–not all of them because of you, but many because of the two of you and your explosive relationship. All my memories aren’t warm fuzzies.
However, I need to say this—and it’s long overdue—thank you. We never went hungry or in lack of anything material all the days I lived in that house. I am grateful that you raised us as your own children, right alongside your own children. I have deep regrets about the kids you left behind to be with mama. While that was not of my doing, I can’t help but feel that we took from them, and it pains my heart. I just want to say thank you for taking care of us. As much as I understood how, I loved you like a father. Someday we will talk again, in heaven. Happy Father’s Day.
To Dave: Not my father, but the father of our children. It was your example of fatherhood in the lives of our children that helped me begin to understand the true meaning of a father’s love. I remember the excitement in you as you came home from work each evening. You spent so much of your time on the floor, rolling around with the kiddies. You practiced and taught them discipline with your own lifestyle. You loved Josh and Jenn without reservation, and that love has only deepened over the years. More important than all of that, you taught them about God; you led them to know Jesus. YOU baptized them as they professed their faith in the God you love and serve.
Yes, we did make our share of mistakes, but what parent doesn’t? We aren’t perfect, after all. If you talk to our kids, though, they don’t remember the mistakes. What they remember is the fun you were, the life lessons you taught, and the love you gave them. Ask either one how they feel about you. They’ll not only tell you, but they proudly tell the world about their dad.
Your example helped them to know what it is they want as they raise their own children. Their methods aren’t the same as we practiced, but their love for their children is the exact replica of the love you gave to them. Their children don’t have to question whether they are loved; they know that, because our children’s father loved them.
You’ve been a “dad” to our grandsons. Just when we thought the nest might be emptying out and our lives entering a new moment, we were called into co-parenting alongside our daughter. You’ve been with the boys every single day since they were born—if not by your physical presence, for sure by your daily prayers on their behalf. Those young men will always know there was a man in their lives who loved them with his every breath. You also taught them about Jesus. You baptized all three of those boys. You’ve taught them to shave, homeschooled one of them, practiced white-knuckle patience as you taught driving lessons. The energy level isn’t what it was when you were younger, but again, if it has been in your power to teach them or bring joy to their lives, you’ve been right there. And now, you are also Papa to Josh’s two little red heads. What fun still lies ahead!
So, thank you isn’t enough to express all you’ve been for your family. It just isn’t. But we are grateful for you, and we love you.
After my salvation experience, you are the best thing that ever happened in my life. I wouldn’t trade you for anyone in this world. We are a perfect match, and I’m glad God orchestrated our lives to come together. And though our story hasn’t been exactly all that we dreamed about, it’s still OUR story. God is good, and our lives together have mattered. Every single “bump” has brought us closer to Him and to each other. I love you forever.
Thank you. You are so very, very loved. Happy Father’s Day.
To Josh: What you have wanted to be for almost your whole life, you now are—a dad. And let me say, you are rocking it! I’m so very proud of the dad you are to those little ones. I love the way they look and you, and I really love the way you look at them. You are at the beginning of the parenthood journey, but you are moving in the right direction with them. Just keep loving them, keep telling them about Jesus, challenge their lives to be the best they can make it. We love you pray for you daily. Happy Father’s Day.
To Jenn: You are a brave woman, raising three boys alone. At this stage, you are very nearly through the child-rearing stage. Your boys are growing up so quickly! They are all on track to be fine men. Keep on keeping on. We see your love for your boys, and we hear their love for you. You understand there isn’t a one of them who wouldn’t leap to your defense in the blink of an eye, right? Don’t get tired; don’t give up; keep up the fight for the souls of your boys. God sees and He cares. So do we. We love you. Happy Father’s Day.