This is a post that I started writing on Father’s Day 2013, but never finished. This year I have a different perspective, but I thought it would be appropriate to include the start of this post from last year.
Father. Dad. Daddy. Papa. Pop… All of these are terms for a father.
Today is Father’s Day. Today is a day where fatherhood is celebrated throughout the country, and people go out of their way to be nice to, or do nice things for, their dad. But for those of us who no longer have our father as a part of our lives, today is a bittersweet day.
Eight years ago, my sisters and I experienced the first Father’s Day without our father. Eddie Pry passed away on January 30th, 2006. So many things have changed over those 8 years, but the biggest thing that has changed for me is that I am now a father to a beautiful little girl. She’s not quite 6 months old, but I’ve already seen so much development and learning in her; it is absolutely amazing to be such an integral part of her life!
Last year, I knew that I was already a father, as my daughter was growing in my wife’s womb. Elisa had a lot of fun with secretly celebrating my first Father’s Day. This year, she reached out to friends and family members and asked them to write something for me for Father’s Day. The result was a truly touching compilation of love and encouragement from people who are dear to me. With that in mind, I wanted to communicate my appreciation for the various fathers in my life.
Thank you Dad. You’re not here in the flesh anymore, but you taught me most of what I know about being a father. You showed me what it means to love everyone around you. I am immensely grateful for the love and devotion you showed to my mom, and the things that you taught to me and my sisters. I wish you could be here to meet your Granddaughter. I will try my best to be a good example of a father to her (and any siblings she may one day have), and I will tell her about you, the life lessons you taught me, and how important you have been in my life.
Thank you Granddad. You have always been like a second father to me. My childhood was filled with wonderful memories of time spent with you. We went fishing and hunting, we went up to the mountains, we took trips to Knobels, and we sang Alabama songs together. Knowing that you were the example who taught my Dad everything he knew about being a father, I looked up to you as an extension of him. You hold a special place in my heart, and I am so grateful that you’re still around to meet your great-granddaughter!
Thank you Phil. Our relationship is newer than those I have mentioned already, but you have already left your impact on me. As my father-in-
lawlove I see the impact you have made not only on my wife, but on all of her siblings as well. I have a great respect for all of the effort and love that has gone into raising your kids, and I especially appreciate how you have welcomed me into your family. You take your faith in God seriously, and I’m thankful to have discovered the true Church as a result of your own path to Orthodoxy. Your life has already had a much wider impact than you can see, and I know that your impact will continue to grow even more over time.
Thank you Marlan. As my Godfather, you certainly hold a unique place in my life. This kind of relationship is much newer for me than, I expect, for you. I am grateful for how welcoming you have always been, even before I had any interest in joining the Orthodox church. It is readily apparent that your faith is immensely important to you, and I hope that I can continue learning how to be a better Christian and a better man through your example.
There are many other people who have had an impact on my life over the years, and there are a lot of friends who are now fathers. To all of the men in my life who have the title “Father”, may your Father’s Day be a blessed day spent with your loved ones. Your role is of the utmost importance to the lives of your children, and I hope and pray that you will be a shining example to your children of a man who knows how to generously love all those around you.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know him.
– 1 John 3:1