Any man can be a father but it takes a special man to be a dad.
My dad, the one I always mention in my blog, is not my biological father, but he is my dad. He has always been there for me in every way that matters. He met my mom before I was even two years old and as far back as I can remember, he has been there. I may not have called him Dad right away, but he is definitely the best dad I could ever ask for. He is the one who taught me to ride a bike, took me to the library on Saturday mornings and helped me with my math homework (and I don't just mean as a kid, that went on through college!). My dad is the one who went to band concerts (even if he filmed the wrong blonde girl the whole time... who played the trumpet whereas I played the flute), my plays, girl scout events and swim meets. He picked me up from meetings, drove me to school in the morning and took us on trips up and down the east coast.
I am also blessed with some wonderful grandfathers, both here and not.
I talk about my Poppy a lot on this blog... a World War II Marine Veteran and one of the best men I know. At 90 years old he is still going strong. My mom and I lived with my grandparents until I was six and my mom always said I was like his seventh kid. This picture is us sitting on the front porch watching the planes come in. Their house is in the landing zone of Newark Airport and by the time I was three I knew from the tail designs which planes were American Airlines, Delta or United. It's a gift. My Poppy helped pick me up from school (sneaking me chocolate pudding to eat on the way home using the foil lid geniusly as a spoon) and taught me my first jokes. I call him at least once a week to just talk and catch up. He stepped in and helped raise me and be a father until my own Dad did so officially. I am so blessed to have these amazing men be my father figures in life when the one who was supposed to do so failed spectaculalry.
I am also blessed to have been priviledged enough to know Ryan's grandfather. Like my own he stepped in and helped raise Ryan and was his dad as well as his Papa. Unfortunately he passed away when we were still newlyweds and I know our family misses him everyday. He was a long standing member of the Air Force and one of the kindest men I have ever met. He was actually the first member of Ryan's family I got to meet when he came up for a special DC visit way back when Ryan and I were still dating. My husband is the honorable, kind and wise man he is today because of his grandfather's amazing influence. I wish I could have spent more time as his granddaughter in law but I am so thankful for the time I did get to have with him.
I even get to have a terrific godfather in my life, my mom's cousin Ken. He was my sponsor for my confirmation and always came to see my shows whenever he got the chance. I road with him in my first convertible and got to hear some wonderful stories as he is an alumni of Catholic University, just like me. We even lived in some of the same dorms.
So, on this father's day I am remembering the dads in my life who are no longer with me and the ones who are still going strong. I hope all the dads, grandfathers, uncles, father figures, godfathers and every one else who celebrates this Father's Day has a wonderful day. And I am counting my blessings.