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Before ANYONE says anything on June 17, 2018, allow me to say something very important. Whether you fire up your computer, pick up the phone or even visit (I hope not. I do not like visitors.), PLEASE refrain from saying HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to me. I will not take it very kindly. I am not a Dad in any sense of the word. Sorry. That is something that will get me VERY angry.
Even though I have taught THOUSANDS of students in my 40-year teaching career, I do not wish to be included in that special group of men who not only brought a child into this world but protected, nurtured, fed and taught that child. They are the living embodiment of the saying, "Any man can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a dad." My dad was very special to me. He finished high school, got married, raised THREE children and was a great example to us all. I could outlive his time span, get more college degrees, make more money than he ever did and I still could NEVER even approach his league. God gave him a mission and he fulfilled his mission better than God intended him to. He was an excellent husband, a super dad, a proud grandpa, and before God called him home on the night of September 18, 2012, an excellent great grandpa. When I watched him die that night, when I watched him close his mouth and never opened it again that night, I knew I lost a huge part of my happiness. His model was St. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus.
No, I am not a father or a dad. That is a title that my dad earned. He was destined for it. He demonstrated it. He worked at it. He was a dad. As an English major, I really struggle with my language at a time like this. I don't like talking about him using the past tense. I like to refer to him in the present tense. Yes, his body stopped, but his spirit is still here. Tomorrow, just like I did on Mother's Day, I will stand at his grave and I will have a good cry. I don't care who knows it or sees it. I miss him and this pain really hurts. I am not a good person. At times, I am filled with such rage. Dad was not like that. Yes, he did get angry at times, but he ALWAYS found it in his heart to forgive others including me. It was a gift that came with his being a dad.
Dad took part in ALL of our activities. Whenever we did something like drop a catch in baseball or play a bad note on our instruments, he always told us, “That's okay. You can do it.” He was great at encouraging us. He wanted us to get more from this life than he ever did. He never missed our graduations or birthdays. At Christmas, I don't know who was the bigger kid as he would carry us to the Christmas tree and watch the happiness on our faces as we unwrapped our gifts. On Halloween, he shared that joy with the kids in the neighborhood, too. He knew that some guys did not hang around to be a dad. So, he would answer the door, pretend to be scared of the costumes and hand out candy. I would often giggle, but it was great watching Daddy be a little boy once again.
Dad, I miss you, Mom, and Janice. I know now that you are taking care of the family until everyone is with you on Judgment Day. You carried out your mission on Earth outstandingly well. You know that I am an educator. If there was a report card for all you did, an A+ would be a super low grade for you. Your report card would never have enough room for all the gigantic A's you would have. Dad, you are the greatest!!!!!