It’s Father’s Day and like every year since mine has passed, it’s a day that proves to be difficult, or strange at least in one way or another. Certain events though, especially in the past few days, have made me reflect especially on the man who raised me for twenty years of my life.

If you read back on my last posts on my dad (Christmas, Celebration, Father’s Day, A Belated Birthday, Dad, Year 4) they range from remembrance of some of our finest moments together, my first documentation of his death to the following events, and periods that have brought him back fully into my consciousness on varying levels. This coming year will likely be different, I can see that clearly- but can’t necessarily divulge or explain why or how; I don’t even know how so exactly myself. All I can begin to gather and understand is that life for those who knew him and loved him so well, especially my mom and sister, will be drastically and hopefully wonderfully changed.

I don’t have much to write now in truth. Rehashing the loss of him especially following so closely to his birthday would bring me little solace and all I can do in this moment is bask in the warm memories he left me with while my emotions jump around, unlike the heart monitor that eventually showed one flat line on the tenth of January, 2010.

I think of the evenings of him reading books and stories from The Yearling to works from C.S. Lewis to my sister and I before nodding into dream land, listening to him strum Vincent outside my door when I was afraid to sleep alone, his unavoidable lack of understanding of who I was when I was in my especially troubled years but supporting and loving me deeply through it all, his booming laughter and undeniably strong presence wherever he was and that he was especially that- present in our lives. These are the things I celebrate today. These things and the other wonderful men in this world who truly represent and hold standard and honor to the word ‘father‘.

I see so many examples of failure in fatherhood both surrounding me and sprawling across the world, from complete strangers to those extremely close to me. It both breaks my heart and boils my blood- and the thread that held my respect for these “fathers” has been stretched too far to tie us together. I know that my experience with my dad was otherworldly, that he rose above expectations by the time my sister and I were adopted but that it was not always that way. From what I understand from stories and explanations from family, he was not always perfect- as none of us are- but that fully embracing his new young daughters took years to mature into. It’s difficult to understand or even envision this, as I only knew the attentive, protective Hal that was my daddy.

What consoles me are the amount of incredible men who have taken their title as dad proudly and attentively and not only praise the women who are the mother’s to their children, but have already invested such energy, time, and love into their families. In my strong opinion, as they should. What pillars of strength you are, my friends, and what a brilliant respect I have for your honor, bravery, and tenderness.

For my friends who celebrate with their dads, who mark this date as their first year as a fathers, for those nervously expecting this day next year to be for them, for those who are celebrated with their children grown and gone, and for those who also grieve the loss of their own patriarchal figure- take today as a date to remember the men who played this part in your life, the way you can be as incredible as they were and are, and how you- as men guiding and leading your malleable, young children- can elevate them in all aspects of life: emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

I will always be a little girl in many aspects, always waiting to “grow up”. One that needs her father, who knows that he surrounds me in one way or another, and that his legacy continues on with me and the rest of his children. What an adventure fatherhood must be, enter it as you would any other life altering task and journey: with dedication, transparency, willingness to feel pain and see failure, excitement for the growth, changes, and marks in history to come, and with an understandable fear of what you may or may not face by bringing life into this world.

What a beautiful, terrifying adventure that must be. And how wonderful it is that you have the opportunity to embark on it.

Happy Father’s Day.

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