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Ode to Dads

We live in a society that just doesn't appreciate the role of present fathers like it should. Lately, I’ve been really inspired by the unsung hero’s we call dads.

With Father’s Day coming up, I thought it was the perfect time to talk about and honor the dads who show up every day and stay consistent in the mundane, messy, emotional, and crazy for their families. Day in and day out, these men are making a bigger difference than they probably realize or are given credit for. It’s not the lessons you teach. It is the way you live that changes lives. It’s the little things that deeply affects us all.

To just to call out a few:

  • Mike B. who I vividly remember outside playing with us when we were kids more often than not. He showed us that we were worth spending time with. He took us seriously and talked to us like we were just as important as adults.

  • My brother Frankie who fearlessly lives and speaks his truth regardless of who may or may not be judging. He teaches our kids a unique kind of bravery by example.

  • My Uncle Joe who never let my family suffer alone and always showed up as a comforting presence in times of need. He showed me and the rest of my family that fun, joy, and laughter could be brought into even the most difficult of times.

  • Jon G. who inspires me from afar with his open respect and admiration for his wife. He leads by example in showing his daughter how a woman deserves to be treated and his sons how to treat a future spouse.

  • Pastor Larry whose compassion and willingness to slow down and understand other people particularly the younger generation when they have differing views has deeply moved me. This exemplified that I was worth understanding and that other people were worth the time to try to understand.

  • Shawn V. who leads by example how to get back up and keep making a difference in the lives of others despite a lot of hardship thrown his way. Faith and love in action.

  • Frank M. who taught my husband by example how to critically think and not to just buy into anything out there. This is a quality I love and value in him.

I am particularly blessed with not just a dad and husband to celebrate this Father’s Day, but two wonderful grandfathers.

My Grandpa is a gentle sweet soul who has always shown me and everyone else tenderness and kindness. I watched him be a wonderful husband to my Grandma Joan, and this showed me how I too deserved to be treated. I had the opportunity to watch him navigate hardships including losing not one but two loves of his life by holding tightly on to Jesus. I sat and listened to my Grandpa process through grief and pour out his heart to God in the most beautiful way through singing and playing his piano. In various times of struggle in my own life, his easy to understand wisdom has guided me.

My Pop taught me to be a warrior, the power of a positive attitude, and to never give up. He survived TB as a child and had not one but two liver transplants. When I was going through my health scare, at one point, I was very afraid; like frozen in fear afraid. He told me to sing, “Because He Lives” out loud and strong.

Because he lives, I can face tomorrow.

Because he lives, all fear is gone.

Because I know He holds my future

And life is worth the living just because He lives

I did it, and this helped me out of freeze mode and into a faith mindset.

All through out my life, when I felt overwhelmed or on my own, my Pop always showed up for me. He and my Nan always helped me think through and figure out any problem I was facing.

Next, I want to talk about my dad. It’s hard to even know where to start because his entire essence has had such a profound influence on me and our family. He shows through his actions and his priorities that family and connection is everything.

When I was a child, my parents suffered financially, so mom could be a stay at home mom and homeschool us. I remember when I was 11, he up and quit a job because work was getting too demanding, and it was taking too much of his time away from my brother and me. Nothing was more important to my dad than time with us. Now, my parents choose helping with and spending time with their grandchildren over money again.

My dad leads by example the importance of love and connection over ego, pride, views, opinions, etc. He is not just open to hearing the ways in which he may have hurt us, but he encourages us to talk about it and actually listens and cares. He puts everything else aside to facilitate emotional and relational healing. This is a rare blessing.

I don’t know where I would be without my dad’s faith in God and faith in me. Even when I looked messy after my divorce, my dad put so much faith in God that I was going to be fine, it made me believe the same.

Throughout my adult life, he showed me through his actions and unruffled steadiness that he believed in me and had complete confidence in me. This was and is so powerful in my life.

My dad taught me by example that God has me, and I can trust myself because He is moving in and through me.

He also is the absolute best at slowing down with animals and people especially babies and toddlers who are often not fully felt and treated as if they are less important. He makes everyone feel safe, important, and understood.

What a blessing that I get to call him, Dad.

Last, but certainly not least, is my husband Erik. I watched him go from being a single guy with a dog into a husband and father head spinningly fast. I’ve had a front row seat to a beautiful transformation into the wholehearted daddy that he is today.

I watched him go from a little timid and uncertain to confident and comfortable in his role. In a moment that recently touched my heart, Erik had lost patience with Eli. A few minutes later, Erik gently came up to Eli and spoke life into him telling him he was a good boy, and listing a bunch of things he loved about him. He gave a wholehearted apology for losing his patience and fully owned his mistake. Eli’s entire countenance changed. It was really moving for me to watch. Erik is teaching our son, by example, how to be self-reflective, and that it’s okay to make mistakes. He also exemplifies how to make a repair when a mistake is made. Erik is one of the most joyful people I’ve ever met. Even in times of struggle, he leads by example how to put complete faith and trust in God, and that our joy comes from Him.

Eli is so incredibly lucky in countless ways to have a daddy like Erik.

So to all the amazing dads out there. Keep on keeping on. Your faith in God, your belief in your children, your being there for your kids, your breaking generational cycles, your striving to do better etc is making a bigger impact on your children and the rest of us than you probably realize. Happy Father’s Day. You are appreciated today and every day.

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