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My Dad

Everyone has a hero, whether fictional or real; my dad was mine. For starters, he was a great story teller so I'm blessed to know a lot about who he was as a boy and a man. He grew up without his biological father in his life and that fact marked him in many ways. His one and only memory of his dad was of a hazy Alabama day when, apparently, his father showed up out of the blue and demanded to see his two sons. My grandmother Sadie must have said, "no" and 'Jim', her husband, and father of her 2 sons, supposedly stormed off, moved to Florida and was never heard from again...

My father was blessed to have a loving step-father who did all he could to raise him right. Even after my grandmother died tragically when my dad was only 13 and his stepfather remarried, he continued to parent my dad and my uncle until the day he died.

My dad was always slight of build but he had a fierceness and street-smart awareness that everyone noticed. You knew he was angry by the flash in his eyes and the flex of his jaw muscles and no one wanted to be downwind of THAT. I only saw him cry twice: once when his grandmother Chaney passed and once when he'd had periodontal surgery. Whatever other sad emotions he experienced, he dealt with away from his youngest daughter...

My dad became a dad at 17 years old while growing up in Alabama. He married his then sweetheart but that didn't last and he left Alabama as a hobo and moved to Detroit, Michigan. He met and fell in love with my Mom at a car parts factory and then was drafted into the Navy to serve in World War II. When he came back, he learned he would be a stepfather to a girl and a boy and that his oldest child had moved to Michigan. He and my mom worked through a very tumultuous time and eventually married and had four more children. There is a 20 year age difference between my oldest brother and me and parenting seven children was definitely not easy as steady employment was scarce. But when it came to his kids he did all that he knew to do and was humble enough to learn from others when he didn't. His love was never conditional or transactional and he stood in the gap for other dads more times than I can count.

My dad had his flaws and he lived long enough to be able to admit to many of them. For one, he left a wife and young child in Alabama when his marriage fell apart. He was not the best stepdad initially which left scars on his stepchildren. He used to curse like a sailor (which he was) until one day his children shamed him to stop. As a young dad, he was not a spiritual leader in the sense that he was able to disciple his children in the ways of the Lord. But, I can truly say that his children were my dad's pride and joy and that is really what makes me the proudest of him. Whether he was our biological dad, adoptive dad or stepdad, he was an engaged and committed dad. In his youth he tried to run from being a parent but God didn't let him succeed. Being a father literally grew him up, eventually, into a godly man.

Fatherhood is a journey and a process as God molds men into their highest potential.

My dear reader, we each have at least one reason to celebrate our fathers; that being that we were conceived in the first place. We may have had very different experiences being parented but it is undeniable that our fathers left an indelible mark upon us. Today, we celebrate, remember, contemplate, and maybe even rue our dads. But at the end of the day, we can be sure that we have the dad that God chose for us and we can give Him all the glory for the outcome!

Happy Father's Day! Much love, Sylvia

Song: "Good Good Father" by Todd Galberth

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