Some people are not as lucky as I am. Some people only get one chance to have a father in their life. I only had 12 years with my Daddy, but the flood of men who have supported me ever since honors me to this day.
My dad and I in Fort Myers, Florida. We didn’t have much money when I was growing up, but we went on vacation to the beach at least once a year. My dad was in love with the ocean, and spent our vacation reading books about marine life, digging things up, taking us on shell walks, and being a big kid himself. I haven’t learned to put my feet in water with thinking about my dad. I can’t believe his grandchild will be born in October. I’ll take him on lots of hayrides for you, Daddy.
My stepfather, Ray, walking me down the aisle. Ray is incredibly smart. He knows about money and business and his conversational skills allow him to effortlessly spend time with anyone he comes across. After growing up Ray from the ages of 6-12, none of my sisters dare to make any financial/business/”grown up” decision before running it by him; not because he expects us to, but because it would be silly not to. The love that he has for all of us, especially my mother and my sisters, makes my heart swell with gratefulness.
This is my mom’s father, my Papa. He has always lived a decent drive away from me, no matter where I was living at the time, which makes all the time I spend with him a special treat. Papa loves to sing goofy songs and take us out for creemies at the ice cream stand. When I was little, we would talk on the phone and he would tell me he had a special video phone (not so ridiculous now, but in 1995…) and that he could tell I had been taking my pretty pills. Now he fulfills his fatherly role by giving me unsolicited advice, telling me that I’ve spent too much on house repairs, and giving me huge, gruff, proud hugs every time I see him.
This is my father’s father, my Grandpa. When we were growing up, we lived on the tree farm that Grandpa owned, and saw him nearly every day. He always had cookies in the nursery office, and when I was little (before he quit) I always loved the smell of his tobacco pipe. He would give us rides in his Jeep and help us pull the rowboat out to the edge of the pond that he used for irrigation. Our house was a good long walk from the road, and after Daddy died, Grandpa would pick me up for the bus stop every day. He always had Big Red gum- we called it Picky Gum- and he always shared.
Thank you all for everything you’ve given me. It may have taken me a few years to figure it out, but I have no idea what I would have done without you. I love you. Happy Father’s Day.