So, I’m blessed to have an amazing daddy who, to this day, never fails in making me feel young. He is everything a father should be. He is gentle, yet protective. He is caring, yet strong. And I have never felt like I wanted for anything in terms of a figure to look up to. And yet, about fourteen years ago, life gave me a gift; God gave me a gift – my father-in-law.
Not like my own dad in terms of communication it took me awhile to realize that my father-in-law spoke a different language of love than I was used to. In my family you say “I love you” and give the person a lingering conversation or kiss on the cheek. My father-in-law tells me he loves me differently, and he always has. He washes my car, fixes my house, or trims my hedges; he invents projects that “need” attending to, and he does them with vigilance and intention. Punctuating it all with tight hugs and, “glad to do it” comments, he is a new kind of hero to me.
Quiet and somewhat introverted, he is completely my opposite, which might be one of the reasons I love him so much. About two years ago, he and my fantastic mother-in-law moved to Colorado. My husband and I have been together long enough that he is a second father to me, and today, on his birthday, I wish he wasn’t so very far away. Sasa Stanisic, said it better, “Missing someone, they say, is self-centered. I self-center you more than ever.”
Years ago, I wrote this poem as a gift. Today seemed a good day to remind my second dad what a gift his “presence” is to me – always. I hope it reminds you too of the men in your life that you love.
He: who delivered comfort in words and in arms. He: that worked persistently in plenty and in need. He: who pushed insecurity aside to allow the security a family demands. And though the world finds rest on his shoulder, it is still he that offers his other for you to lean upon.
He: who built his destiny off the dreams others wished to fulfill. He: who pushed, who demanded, and who dared you to become all that no one else cared enough to expect. He: that found himself living for the life he wanted to give you. Listening with lighted eyes to the stories you have yet to write, encouraging you to imagine what’s to come. He never suspects that all the best parts of your character, come from his.
He: who was never afraid to admit weakness so that you might be strong. He: that redefined the borders of integrity. He: who promised to love you beyond the world, and call your name past the stars. A man called daddy, protection incarnate, my guardian – you.
Thank you for being another man in my life to LOVE up to,
(your daughter) Elle