Father’s Day has always been a challenging holiday for me. My father left our family when I was four, and so as a child, it was a rather painful day. Most families I knew in the early sixties had a dad, and so this holiday especially reminded my siblings and I how different we were. Even our classroom art activities were a reminder. The projects were designed to give to Dad on his special day, and my teachers would not accept “But I don’t have one” as a reason not to do the project. If they only understood how much pain their paper and crayon tie project was causing!

Starting as a child, I have watched fathers and their children at every opportunity. Dads were somewhat mystical creatures that I could not quite understand. I had a loving close grandfather, and a wonderful uncle, but they were not the same as a “dad”. I did not really understand what dads did or what they were like. And I was always jealous when I saw friends or other kids interacting with their fathers. How lucky those children seemed to be!

Today, as an adult, I still watch fathers and their children. I am always moved by a loving dad pushing his toddler on a swing, cheering on his daughter at her soccer game, or playing catch with his son. Dads are so very important, and I appreciate every father who works to meet his responsibility, and provide his children with love, guidance, and support.

I am living proof that children without an involved father in their life can grow up to be strong, confident and successful adults. Women alone can be wonderful parents and role models. But when a father is a part of the family, his active involvement is valuable and treasured by the whole family.

So today, on Father’s Day 2019, I send a Happy Father’s Day greeting to every dad out there who is doing his best, balancing work and family, working hard to support his family, and being a strong supportive role model to his children. And a special shout out to every grandpa, uncle, brother, friend, and mom who fill the role of “dad” when needed.