Signs of a Special Dad

How do you write an homage to the men in your life that you love on their special day? How do you find a way to really articulate the beauty and perfection that you see in them, even when they are imperfect? The fathers in my life come in a so many shapes and sizes, with personalities to match, that there isn’t a lot that they do the same that fits in a neat blog post. When you are one of five, your husband is one of six, your dad is one of thirteen, and your mom is one of five, there’s a lot of material to pull from…

After sitting at my stupid computer for the last hour, completely blocked, I realized that its simple. A quick list works! Regardless of their approach, there are a few key themes that are consistent about the dads that I respect most:

  • They teach you to be fearless: Whether it’s throwing you up in the air, swinging you too damn high, or pushing you to try something new, even if you fail, great dads find a way to give you the courage to spread your wings and fly.
  • They always find a way to embarrass you (though you secretly love it): Good fathers, with impeccable timing, seem to find ways to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.  When you are sitting with friends and they drop a “Dad-liner” that makes everyone groan, and you role your eye, but you smile inside because you know he’s paying attention. It’s even funnier, when you see the transition as your husband turns into the dad dropping the “Dad-liner.”
  • They try and try and try:  The truth is no one is perfect.  All of us make mistakes. I have seen the men in my life screw up – big mistakes and little ones.  Yet, they never quit trying to be the best dad they can be. They fight for their kids to have better lives. They fight for their kids happiness. They fight to show their kids how much they love them, even when the kids don’t always recognize it.
  • They can find a way to make you laugh when you want to cry: Somehow when you become a dad, the magic clown gene turns on. Per bullet 2 (see above), more often than not, dad being funny leads to child embarrassment, but every once in a while, when you really need it, they find just the right words or actions that make you laugh through your tears. Could be something they say. Could be something they do (lots of silly dancing and singing in the homes that I’ve lived in). But somehow, amazingly, they know how to make you feel better.
  • At your lowest points, they find a way to be there: Growing up is hard. But so is parenting.  There is no easy rule book to follow. Every child is different, and every challenge is different. For most parents – moms or dads – we spend our time “faking it until we make it” when raising our offspring. But the best dads, always find a way to be there at the biggest moments, with pride bursting out of them. Or at your lowest points, they appear, even when you didn’t even think to tell them.
  • Their hugs are AMAZING…

Some dads just naturally get being a dad. They excel at it. For others, it’s something they have to work at.  But the key is, that they try! For most men that I know, becoming a father was one of the most terrifying and amazingly beautiful things that happened to them. But watching as my husband and cousins and friends face fatherhood head on has been a blessing. And seeing how my father and brothers and uncles tackled fatherhood helped me to see and understand the man that I wanted in my life to raise my family.

On Fathers Day, I want to say thank you to all of you dads in my life for helping to set the example for my sons to grow up with. You will teach them to be men, and I know, without hesitation, that they will be men that I will be proud of because you are men that I’m proud to know and love.

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