This is Pat. First and foremost, Happy Father’s Day to all dads. If your dad is no longer with you, I hope you’re able to celebrate his memory today. I know I’m lucky to still have my dad around.
My dad will be 88 next month. He was raised in a small town in central Illinois in a family where money was scarce. He put himself through school working a minimum of 3 jobs all 4 years. When my dad graduated from college 2 things happened: 1) he married my mom 2) he entered the army and served during the Korean war.
(Dad as a sophomore in high school)
He raised 4 kids often bypassing things for himself like badly needed clothes in order to make sure we had enough to eat, clothes to wear, and money for things like sports, dance lessons for my sister, music lessons and maybe a dollar or two left over to buy an icee or baseball cards. He quietly demanded four things: hard work, honesty, responsibility, and respect for my mother. One time when my older brother was in high school he was in the living room with my mom. I was sitting at the kitchen table with my dad. My brother must have mouthed off to mom because dad, all 5′ 8″ 160 pounds of him was in the living room inside of 4 steps and had my brother pinned to the ground. “Never talk to your mother like that!” That was enough for me. I wasn’t going to disrespect mom, ever.
My dad never really offered advice, he simply led by example. When I had kids of my own and mom and dad would visit, it was dad who would get on the ground and play with them. With every step of my sons’ growth he was truly interested in whatever they were interested in or doing. He is without a doubt the most in the moment person i’ve ever met.
(Dad with Dimitri when Dimitri was 1, and with Lucas when Lucas was 4)
About ten years ago I told him, face to face, that he was my hero….that I wanted to be like him. He took a moment and said, “You hungry? Wanna get something to eat?”
So as we celebrate Father’s Day I again say to you, dad, publicly: you are indeed my hero. there aren’t enough thank yous for everything you’ve done for me, my brothers, my sister, and my mom. You may be only 5′ 8″ but you’re a much bigger man than me. I love you. And in your honor I’ll now go get something to eat.
Me with Mom and Dad circa 2001