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Quite often fathers are the unsung hero’s of a family’s success. I’m not really sure why because their job is just as important as a mother’s… and sometimes even harder. But there is a silver lining to the disproportionate recognition, and it’s called Father’s Day. Every year at this time we get a chance to recognize, celebrate, and praise the men who brought us into this world and guided us through life. They impart their wisdom and experience by teaching life lessons and offer their advice when needed. Whether or not we take that advice is a totally different story. I can’t count the number of times my dad has given me advice and I ignored it thinking I know it all. And every single time I end up wishing I had listened. Call it youth or hardheadedness or whatever but as I get older I’ve come to appreciate that advice much much more.
I believe a majority of fathers are goodhearted and well intentioned when it comes to raising their children. Of course there are some bad one’s as well but good or bad they are the reason we’re here on this earth and that alone should garner respect. I can only speak from my experience so I have no idea how it feels to have a bad father. I’m sympathetic to those situations and it makes me even more thankful for my father. I wish everyone could have a father like mine. He’s the example everyone should look to if they want to know what a good father is. He’s patient, kind, goodhearted, generous, wise, honest, selfless, intelligent, loyal, giving, brave, hard working, protective and every other positive adjective you can think of.
About five years ago my dad had a heart-attack. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced. Before that my dad has never been sick a day in his life. It never crossed my mind that I could lose him. To me and my sister he was superman. He worked hard every day, provided for our family, gave us anything we asked for and never complained about any of it. He worked as much overtime as he could get just to send me to college. He would work 50+ hours during the week and then on the weekend he would make deliveries to different states with his side trucking business. I’m sure this took a toll on his health but he did it just to make sure my sister and I had a better future. When you’re young you tend to take these types of things for granted. I had no idea how special my father was. I thought every dad did that. I didn’t realize this until I went away to college and got exposed to all different types of people and families. None of my friends had a dad like mine. Not even one. I was so naive and couldn’t see how spoiled I was. My uncles would call me spoiled all the time but I took it as a joke. Looking back now they were 100% right. When I was 16 in high school, I went car shopping with no money and no job. I found and fell in love with the most beautiful car I had ever seen. It was a gold Audi 5000 with leather seats and a sunroof. I told my mom about it and she laughed, so I told my dad about it and somehow convinced him to come to the lot with me. By the end of that day I had my Audi. Every car I’ve owned since then (7 or 8 different ones), my dad bought for me. And don’t think he’s just generous with his children. He’s generous with everyone. When anyone in my very large family needs help with something, they call him, and every time he says yes. That’s just the type of guy he is… even if it means he has to go without.
Generosity is a good characteristic to have, but so is patients. I’ve never met anyone more patient and understanding than my dad. I got diagnosed with Sickle Cell when I was 3 years old. Immediately following that diagnosis I experienced my longest hospital stay ever. Sometime during that hospitalization my aunt Millie brought me some get well balloons and a teddy bear named Boo. From that day forward Boo became my best friend. Wherever I went, Boo went. When I got sick, so did Boo. When I had to get an IV, I would insist that they give Boo one first. It’s funny and I laugh at that now but I was dead serious when it came to Boo. I’m telling you all this about Boo because I’m setting up a story that shows just how patient my dad is. When I was 5 years old a huge hurricane hit North Carolina (hurricane Gloria). We planned to tough it out at home but the hurricane doubled in size and was headed straight to the little town I lived in (Bath). The winds were blowing our house and the trees in our yard looked like they could fall any minute. A national guard officer banged on our door and told us we had to evacuate immediately. My mom and dad hurriedly packed a bag and threw my sister and I in the car. We were just about to pull out of the yard when I realized I forgot to grab Boo through all the excitement. I scream wait please wait, we forgot Boo. He’s still in the house. My dad tells me that Boo will be ok and we didn’t have time to go back inside. I start to cry because I honestly believed that my best friend was going to die all alone in the house. My dad looks at me for a moment, then puts the car in reverse and runs back in the house to get Boo. I was elated and relieved, but instead of putting Boo in the car he put Boo in the trunk. When he got back in the car I started to cry again. I told him that Boo couldn’t breath in the trunk. My dad turned and looked at me again, then put the car back in park and went to fetch Boo out of the trunk. It was pitch dark outside, the winds were blowing so hard that my dad could barely stay on his feet, the rain was pouring, debris flying everywhere and my dad didn’t yell at me, he didn’t ignore me, he didn’t laugh at me and tell me I’m crazy. He saw how distressed and worried I was and did everything he could to make me happy. How many dads would have done that? I’m not even sure I would do that if I were in his situation. That’s just the type of guy my father is. He’s done things like that his whole life. Always doing whatever it takes to make sure his family is happy and provided for.
I know it couldn’t have been easy raising a child with sickle cell. In and out of the hospital. Countless blood transfusions. Surgeries, doctor visits, physical activity limitations, watching a child in pain and not being able to make it better. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of hospital bills. Somehow my mom and dad were able to handle all of this without making me feel like I was a burden (which I was). I believe God put me with two parents who could handle all of that and give me the best childhood possible. I’m in constant awe of my dad. There is no person on this earth like him, and I feel blessed beyond belief to call him my dad… so Happy Father’s Day dad. I don’t say it enough but I love you and everything good about me came from having a dad like you.
Check out a blog I wrote about my mom on mother’s day http://sociallyurban.com/my-amazing-mom/