Today is Father's Day, and after just returning from a lengthy visit with my own dad (my first trip home since my mom died) to then spend lots of time with my husband, a great dad himself, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic.
First, my dad. He's always been my hero, a man who always seemed larger than life, who could do about anything. He's the smartest man I know, able to fix a car and build a radio, teach himself piano and figure out the confusing world of network configuration (I have to call him every time my network goes down because there are certain things I just don't get :-). Give him a problem, a puzzle, and he'll solve it.
Most of all, he is a military hero, having fought in Vietnam and then gone on to serve a long career in the Army and National Guard. This past Monday, I was at a farewell ceremony for the 1060th in Massachusetts (my cousin has been activated and was one of the brave men and women being sent to Iraq) with my dad. Dad was in full uniform, looking as commanding as always. It was weird to be with the guy I see as just Dad, and have all these people saluting him and paying obvious respect to a man who has earned their admiration. Young to old, it made no difference. These people saw him as someone to admire. And just standing beside him made me feel proud and honored to be his daughter.
My dad is a rock of strength, and I have leaned on him as much as he has me and my brothers in the last few months as we grieved together. I love and admire him, not just because he's my dad, but because he's the kind of man who made me want more from the men I dated. Who made me want to find someone who could measure up to his example.
Thankfully, I did. My husband is former military himself, and is a strong, driven man who has climbed mountains even I didn't think were possible to climb. He's an entrepreneur, a thinker, and someone who isn't afraid of a challenge. He ignores the words "it's impossible" and takes on the world, confident that he can achieve his goals, regardless of the roadblocks in his way. He has taught me to take more risks, to believe in myself, and to trust in my abilities.
But most of all, he has been a good father to our children. He loves those kids with a fierceness that astounds me. He would, and has, done quite literally anything to keep them safe and secure. They are the most important people in his life, and he tells them that often, providing a foundation that will serve them well when they are my age and still needing that relationship with their dad. Not for advice or life lessons, but because they have, as I have with my dad, become friends.
I love them both and am honored to have two men like them in my life. To me, these two are the best examples of dads I can imagine, and on this day, I just want them to know how grateful I am to have them both.