"What is a Dad?" If you ask a child this question, you may find yourself with an answer that sounds something like this.."A Dad is someone who gives you cereal for dinner and lets you stay up late and watch wrestling.", "A Dad is someone who builds things and hunts", "A Dad is someone who goes fishing on Saturday morning" or it could look like this, "A Dad is love."
But to me, the meaning of what a Dad is, has evolved throughout the different stages of my life. I can remember when I was very young and the meaning of a Dad was a curly haired boy named Butch. My memories of this Dad are very vague. Mainly compiled of a stack of pictures and a database of stories I have been told and long filed away, only to bring out on certain occasions. This young Dad of mine, taught me that no matter what my circumstances were, I was never stuck. In him I learned how to dream of a "one day" and I learned not to let the fear of heartbreak stop me from trying.
As I grew older a Dad, to me, meant an older man with a limp, whom I named Gangy. Back then, Gangy was the main father figure in my life. He along with my Grandma adopted me and raised me. He was the rule maker and also the one I knew would let me break the rules. He made me laugh with his silly jokes, embarrassed me in front of my friends and always kept his heart open to my many needs.
He taught me how to drive, taught me how to forgive, and through him I learned that mistakes will be made and from them lessons can be learned, wrongs can be rewritten, and our story's ending redirected.
After I was married and had children of my own, the meaning of a Dad became a man named Cody, my husband and the father of my children. I have watched as Cody went from a young man with a lot to learn, holding his first born son, to a man who was confident enough to lean on God through trials and tribulations.
I've watched this Dad welcome child after child into his heart. I've watched him fall in love with our daughter who was created by another and given to us through adoption. I have watched him receive the news of a cancer diagnosis only to go to work the next day and continue to do so through it all to provide for his family. I have watched him act silly, play catch, and hold baby dolls all for the sake of putting a smile on one of his six children's faces.
I have watched him open his heart to an orphan clear across the world, just so that she will know what it is like to have the love of a Daddy. In him I have learned that happiness and love is real but fairy tales don't really exist. I have learned that men don't always leave and I have learned what it's like to have a daddy's little girl.
And, now after 33 years of life. After tear stained chubby cheeks and validated disappointment. After waiting day after day for cards to come that never came, and the phone to ring that never did. After watching friends get dressed up for Daddy/Daughter dates and wishing like hell mine would ring the bell. After reconnecting with the Dad of my younger years and in him, finding an older, more wiser Dad walking in his shoes.......
I've come to know the most import Dad of them all. Through the evolution of a Dad in my life, I was introduced to my Heavenly Father. Through it all he has shown me of my worth and my importance, even in my darkest times. He has shown me that, in my life, there truly is a purpose. There is a reason for it all. And, it was never to hurt me or break me, but it was to build me up and mold me into the woman and mother I am today. He gave me the different Dad's in my life to teach me the important uplifting and sometimes heart wrenching lessons this life has to offer. Through them, God helped me to understand that we are human and we are wired to love imperfectly, ultimately making mistakes. He has helped me to see myself through my father's eyes, where my imperfections are made perfect and in my weakness he shines. He has shown me the many faces of a Dad and let me see how truly special I am through their love combined. Because of all of this I now know what a Dad really is, and that is love. Jeremiah 29: 11 "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."