Like so many girls, it is my privilege to say that my dad is my hero. Dad grew up during the depression and with his own father struggling to keep a job and his mother crippled to arthritis and confined to a wheelchair, Dad held 2-3 jobs at a time while getting himself through high school and college and helping to keep food on his family’s table.
He fought his way to a senior role with “The Bell System” where he managed thousands of people and the computer operations for this major telecommunications icon. My brothers and I not only lived a wonderful childhood filled with family picnics, camping trips, trips to Michigan to visit our relatives and fabulous adventures to California, Arizona, Washington State, New Hampshire and so many more—but we lived a life full of faith based love and instruction.
When I was little, I could not WAIT to have him come home each night to create a little swing out of his arms so he could toss me high up on his shoulders! It was the highlight of my day and still makes me smile to think of it. Even with the fun, Dad made sure we understood the value of hard work and a job well done. He would get us all out to create the perfect yard, clean the pool, hand wax the cars—just before we got to play wiffle ball, go fishing or just relax together on the porch.
Whenever I have found myself in a place of despair, I have called on my Dad. During a particularly bad run in middle school, my Dad would come into my room at night and offer me scripture to keep me strong. The one that resonated with me then and still today is, Romans 8:31 “…If God is for us, who can be against us?” I continue to find strength knowing that God Almighty, the Maker of Heaven and Earth is fully on MY side!
Dad has this great ability to blend faith and fun—sometimes at the same time (like reciting silly Christmas pieces before opening our gifts each year and the reading of the Christmas story from Luke to keep the purpose front and center). From the first time my Dad and I danced together on a real dance floor on a trip to the Grand Canyon when I was 10 years old—we have continued to dance. In fact, most of the photos I have of us together are of us dancing. We are either dancing a slow fox trot, or whipping around the floor at amazing speeds doing the polka the way my Grandma taught us to; with a kick at the end of each 3-count step! We have not been able to dance in recent years, but I was grateful that my oldest daughter Sydney was able to sneak in a slow dance at my niece’s wedding with Dad. It was like watching a re-run of him and me.
My parents retired almost 21 years ago now to Hilton Head Island, SC and continue to stand out as heroes. I don’t believe there is a job at church my Dad has not, or does not hold—even to the point where one Christmas, he was head usher, communion server, and soloist during a single service! My Dad is a Guideon, Stephen’s Minister, Bible Study leader, in addition to political and social activities he is involved with. I have no idea how he does it all, and while it seems the time has come for him to slow down a bit, he still is and will continue to be my hero and role model.
For every major event in my life, whether it is my birthday or something more worthy of celebration, my Dad writes a letter sharing how proud he is of me and my family. How thrilled he is that I have “married such a fine Christian man” and “what a blessing that is now and for eternity.” My parents have been married for 61 years and despite life’s constant hiccups in health and other matters they are completely devoted to each other. It is an inspiration and yet another reason to call Dad my hero.
Everyone says that a girl marries her Dad. My husband and my Dad share so many interests and values that I am richly blessed to say in my case, that is absolutely true. My only hope is that I can be half the blessing to my Dad (and of course Mom!) during the coming years as he has been to me.
Happy Father’s Day!