My dad and I went everywhere together. When I was little, we’d play wiffle ball every day after he got off work. And every Friday, we’d go to the movies—Richy Rich and Godzilla are some of the ones I remember.
Ever since I was a little boy I saw my dad as a strong, wise, and a put-together guy who knew what to do in every situation. He worked hard to bring home a decent check so our bills were paid, and he always made sure there was food on the table. He also spent time with me, even after working 12-16 hour shifts.
But the older I got the more I realized that my dad was just like every other person: he had personal demons, too. He had anger issues like I do. But it seemed like when I was younger he masked them in order to set an example for me that getting angry was no way to solve a problem (even though I know now that it’s not always easy restraining anger).
There were times—especially in my teenage years—when I thought my dad was just being an asshole. But especially after I had my first child, I started to realize he was just doing it for my own good. He was trying to find that perfect balance of friend and parent: he liked to have fun with me, but he also set the boundaries and did those things that made me unhappy in the moment, but that was ultimately in my best interest.
All this being said, my dad is the reason I am the man that I am today. He instilled the morals and personal strengths in me that it takes to make it in this world. He taught me to stay strong no matter what and to never quit.
I always try to be a great father and husband, and I have the utmost respect and love for my father for making me that kind of man. I’ve had to make my own decisions about loving my wife and children through good and bad, but it was my dad who showed me the way.
He handed me a great legacy that I want to continue. I want my children and wife to remember me when I’m gone as I will always remember my dad: as a man that will do whatever it takes for his kids to make it; a strong man that doesn’t let life beat him down, but when life gets tough, I get tougher. I want to be known as wise, like I always thought of my dad.
Even when it came to hard times, I want people to see that I didn’t abandon my wife and kids, but that I pressed through and tried to make things work. I want to be remembered as a man who didn’t just leave his wife to do most of the parenting, but stood right there with her. A man who didn’t take his wife for granted, but gave her the attention and recognition that she deserves for being a great mother and wife. A man who treated his wife with respect.
That’s what my dad taught me, and that’s what I now teach my kids.
Finally, I’d like to take this time to say “I love you, Dad.” Thank you for all that you have done for me—not because you had to, but because you wanted to. Thanks for making me the man I am. Happy Fathers Day.