My dad was not a dad, in any sort of good sense. He just wasn't. But today, I celebrate three different men. In order of how they came into my life...
My grandfather. I'm the second grandchild of twenty one. And from the very beginning, the best and most important man in my world was my grandfather. Everything I learned about how a man should be, I learned from him. He was brilliant, capable, strong, loving and always made me feel as though I was perfect. He taught me to love nature, and reading and family, astronomy, playing chess. He called me chicken, which is what I call my own children. I was the oldest child of a single mom, and my mother struggled with money and time, there was never enough of either. My grandfather always made a point to take me places, he brought me to every museum in New England (and there are thousands - did you know that there is actually a museum just for canoes??), he brought me mountain climbing and star gazing.
My stepdad. Paul met my mother when I was fourteen, and has loved my mother thru so much more than any stepparent should have had to go thru. I had two younger brothers and a younger sister - and he has been constant and stable and loving and never once made us feel as though he'd rather have just had my mother. Guiding four children thru adolescence is no easy feat, and doing it with kids that you are biologically related to is probably close to impossible. But he did it. But that's not all I'm grateful to him for - he's been the most amazing grandfather to our children. My mother and Paul have 13 grandchildren, and from the very beginning, they all worshipped Dzidzi. He teaches them to build and hammer and demolish stuff (he's constantly fixing something). He takes them camping and to sporting events, picks them up at school, and is just always, always there.
And last, but certainly not least - my amazing husband. Who loves his kids so much more than anyone I've ever met. Who's happiest when all four of them are running around, climbing all over them. Who spends HOURS every night he's home with a curious almost three year old, answering his questions, acting out elaborate plotlines from Batman, and reading story after story. Who struggled to connect with a tiny two year old princess who loved Mommy more than anything - and finally figured out that whacking her with a pillow and letting her slam him back could be the foundation of a beautiful relationship. He's never not willing to change a diaper, get a drink, dress a barbie, build an uzi out of legos, console a crabby pre-teen girl, or cuddle a miserable eight year old. There are many, many reasons that I love my husband - but one of the first and most important has always been the way he fathers his children.
I'm incredibly lucky - I may have struck out on the surface with it comes to Father's Day - but I have three of most incredible men who have taught me so much about what being a father is really all about.