I hope those of you who are dads had a relaxing father’s day. I wanted to send some very special wishes to my father in law, as well as my own dad.

Our hearts were a bit heavy today, simply because phone calls and mailed cards just aren’t the same. Though Jeff and I missed out on seeing our wonderful fathers and our families today, there’s no greater love than the memories and fondness we have for these wonderful men and role models.

For anyone that knows my dad is familiar with his gruff, but sincere exterior. Aptly, my cousin nicknamed my dad Uncle Grumpy because of his nonstop seriousness and dad-like attitude. (In his defense, we were usually wild whenever we got together and dad was usually our chauffeur.) Conditioned by the Navy to be meticulous and rigid sometimes to a fault, my dad is nothing but a big softie…especially when it comes to family.

Dad and I have a very special bond, one that I’d attribute to stubbornness and a passion for life. To this day, even though I’m so far away, dad and I continue to have our candid conversations like we used to do over Hardee’s soft serve ice cream. Instead of boys and college plans, we talk about the Mets lineup, the things we love and my growing family. We share a bond that every girl should have with their dad, the kind that sets the foundation for healthy relationships and a high regard for those that you love.

Dad, who was always at the helm, was rather strict whenever it came to me. I was the only girl, and a rebellious girl at that. One year as a teenager, right about when boys started to come into play, I had a slumber party for my birthday. Fifteen crazy girls, one large backyard, a huge tent= a sleepless night. Literally. That night, my dad slept on the porch just to make sure no uninvited guests came over. *ahem* boys. I’ll never forget that slumber party, partly because I was so mortified at how extreme dad can be, but now, I’m so grateful for how he would/will do anything to safeguard his family.

They say anybody can be a father, but it takes a man to be a dad. If I could reword that old adage, I’d have to say, it takes a brilliant man to be a dad.

dad at wedding

I’m hardly exaggerating when I say that my dad is the best. For my entire life, my dad has worked extremely hard to provide for our family. His jobs weren’t always your typical office jobs, but instead, his jobs usually required him to serve time aboard a ship somewhere– months at a time. Though we’d watch him depart for many different locales over the years, he always made it a point to be around. I don’t really know how he did it, but despite his 6 month deployments, he was at every dance recital, every jazz band performance, every dentist appointment, every basketball game and every report card. The man never skipped a beat.

Dad’s strict demeanor overlapped into all of our activities, as well as into our academic careers. He stressed how important it was for us to do well in school school and go on to college. My paternal grandfather who was a high school principal stressed the same for my dad and promised him that college tuition would be his “gift” to him– a gift that noone else could give him, nor take away. Whether it meant being away for months at a time, it was dad’s mission to send us all to college so that we could one day provide for our own families.

And so, I’m forever indebted to my parents for sending me to college, giving me the gift of beginning my adult life with little debt, allowing me to pursue my dreams and giving me the inspiration to supercede my own expectations.

dad dance

It melts my heart when I see Jeff interact with dad. I enjoy the laughs they share, their sports babble, but most especially, the way dad openly accepted Jeff as a ‘son’ from day 1. As Jeff is about to become a dad, I can see the resilience in my husband; it’s that same resilience that my dad exudes– the hard worker, extremely tough, but completely sincere.

They say women often gravitate towards and sometimes marry men who remind them of their fathers. I used to laugh and say, never will I do a thing like that!

Just for the record, I’m biting my tongue.