Today I am grateful for my own father, Arthur, and for my husband Darcy and the wonderful and present father and grandfather he is.

This day can come loaded with emotions that truly run the gamut. I am thinking especially of my stepson Arthur, and his wife Alyssa, expecting the birth of their first child in late August. My friend Sheila's husband Dave facing his first Father's Day after the death of their daughter Carli. My friend Betsy whose father passed away less than two weeks ago.

Plenty of emotions. Lots of love. Many memories. It all adds up to the blessings and lessons our own fathers brought us, and the other fathers who continue to impact our lives.

A special thank you to Darcy, for helping me be a better parent and stepparent, and for having the courage and heart to break a pattern of fatherhood in his own family. It was a pattern that needed breaking and it has made all of the difference to his children and to me.

My sister Zita posted an old photo of our dad on Facebook yesterday. It reminded me of this photo that I have of him: 

We don't know the year this picture was taken, but we are guessing he was in his late teens or early twenties and it was in the early 1940's.  For most of my memory, my dad wore striped bib overalls as he went about the work of farming. He got dressed up for church, square dancing, and special occasions. But I only remember him wearing button down dress shirts, not collared polos like this one. 

My dad was 41 when I was born, #11 of his 13 children. I think wistfully about the child and young man he was. It is a time that remains mysterious to all children regarding their parents. It makes hearing some of the stories from those earlier days all the more precious.

It has been nearly 19 years since he died, but I still miss you Dad and feel your presence in my life. Thank you!

Happy Father's Day to all dads out there!