Dear dads of the world

Published 1:13 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Father’s Day was last Sunday, but I’m going to talk about Valentine’s Day.

Picture it: February 14, 2013. I was 14 years old. I didn’t have a boyfriend. But I had a man far more loyal than I could’ve had as a teenager on that day. Not only did he buy me chocolate, tell me he loved me, and hugged me, but he spent quality time with me on that day.

I had my dad.

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On Valentine’s Day that year, Dad and I spent the entire afternoon on a hike. We exited our driveway, dove into the woods, and came across a path that took us to a slice of land where power lines carved through the forest. He and I followed them all the way to a backroad, and from there, we walked for miles.

We could’ve taken the short way home. We could’ve called Mom to come get us. But we kept walking together—the long way home.

I can sit here and write a message about finding a good guy who spends quality time with you, but I won’t waste my time on something that (hopefully) everyone knows.

Instead:

Dear dads,

I’ve seen bad dads and good dads, and I’ve known children with divorced parents or absent dads. No matter who you are, dads of the world, love your sons and daughters the way my dad loves me.

There is a whole day centered around the man that cares for his children. We just celebrated it on Sunday––celebrated the man who has loved you more than any man in the world.

Valentine’s Day should be celebrated the very same way because. . . well, at least in my experience, my dad showed me how to find the best guy to love me well.

There were a number of things he wordlessly taught me growing up, such as: Love patiently. Love widely. Give out of your pocket if it means helping someone. Give humbly. Sacrifice your time for people you love, and often. Provide without grumbling.

These qualities that I grew up watching my dad encompass are worth celebrating more than just on Father’s Day, and thanks to him, I realize now that I should celebrate him on Valentine’s Day, as well, for teaching me how the man he hands me over to one day loves me just the same.

So, dads, thank you for loving little kids like me. As the daughter of a very good dad, I speak for the rest of us daughters of good dads when I say, “Thank you.”

To the dads who are good or bad or absent or half-absent:

Love the way my dad loves me.

Now, and for the rest of my life, I’ll love mine that way.