I just want to start out by saying that when it comes to the whole father thing, I have been totally and completely blessed. Not only do I have my dad, and an awesome step-dad, but I have TWO amazing father-in-laws. A girl couldn’t have asked for anything better.
To start this off, we must start at the beginning. My dad.
This man right here is one of the world’s greatest. Not only is he a kindhearted man who will (almost) give you the shirt off his back if you need it (if it’s hot and sunny, he’s going to burn so he’ll keep it, but he’ll get you another one) but he always tries to do what he feels is right. He is the owner/operator of the Non-Profit Garage. Our house was always the house the neighborhood kids would bring their bikes to when they needed air in a tire, a stubborn chain put back on, or the brakes adjusted on. As the kids in the neighborhood, and our house, got older, they started bringing their cars to him, or asking him to come take a look at their car because it couldn’t even make it up the road to our house. He did this all for free. Sometimes there was some grumbling. Sometimes there was some mumbling. Sometimes he even griped about it in front of the “customer,” but he always helped them. I’m pretty sure some of the neighborhood “kids” still ring his doorbell if they have a problem with their car, or even their own kid’s bike. He’s always been there for me. Even now that I am thirty and out on my own with two kids and a husband of my own, if I need anything all I have to do is pick up the phone and call. He is one amazing man, a wonderful father, and the best damn Papa you will ever meet. Just ask my kids.
This next man came into my life about seven years or so ago. He may not have been around for my formative years (I was already married with children and a life of my own), but he’s made an impact anyway.
This is the man I call Brentwood, and his faithful and loyal cat Two Stripe. This is the man who married my mom, even though she had three kids of her own (he came with two) and two grandchildren already. So one day he went to bed with two kids, and woke up with five kids and two grandkids. How crazy is that? We may not have always been cool with each other. Ok, that was me. But to be fair, I manned up and talked to him and we are all good now. If I need someone, all I have to do is call him. I know this. He will do whatever needs to be done. I’m glad that I talked to him and actually gave him a real fighting chance. He said all he wanted was for us to be a family. Now we are. He is part of my family. He stepped into my mother’s (and therefore my sisters’, my children’s, and my life) and has made himself right at home. He’s a wonderful Pappy. All the proof you need is in the way my kids and my nephew talk about him.
Then there’s Uncle Tommy. What? Did I just say Uncle Tommy? Yes. You read that right. I call one of my father-in-laws uncle. No, we are not from Arkansas.
This is my husband’s dad. This picture of him was taken at my grandmother’s restaurant, Mary’s Cafe. Since it was my grandmother’s place, and conveniently located just one mile from my house when I was growing up, I spent a lot of time there. So do pretty much anyone who ever went there. We were all one big unconventional happy (sometimes) family. Right down to the employees and the tea and coffee drinkers. So this guy here, I grew up calling Uncle Tommy. I ran around with his niece for the longest time. We were inseparable for a while during our formative years. She called him Uncle Tommy. I called him Uncle Tommy. I still call him Uncle Tommy. That’s why some people, those who haven’t known me for forever, hear Kevin and I talking about his dad, they look very confused at first. But I wouldn’t change it. He may look scary, but don’t let that big truck driver look fool you. He is seriously a big softy, just don’t cross him. He’s really a great guy. I know I’m not doing him justice, but if I tell all of his secrets he will come find me and then I may never been seen or heard from again. He will help anyone he can, even if it means he misses out on something. He’s stubborn and set in his ways, but my kids couldn’t have asked for a better Pawpaw. You just ask them and see what they say.
That brings us to, last but for certain not least, my other father-in-law, Mark.
I told you I was blessed. So is my husband and our children. This man is my husband’s dad. He is one of the lucky ones that has two wonderful dads. Even though I’ve known my husband my entire life, I only met this guy about thirteen years ago, shortly after my husband and I started dating. Almost immediately, this man made me feel like family. He still does. He’s another great guy, again, as long as you don’t cross him. He’s a quiet one, and it’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for. Anyway, back on topic, this guy will be there if you need him. Anytime. Anywhere. And did I mention brilliant? Kevin obviously didn’t get his brains from this guy. Haha! I jest, I jest. Seriously, though. This man has made me feel nothing but welcome since I met him. I’ll go visit without my husband. That’s when you know you’ve got some great in-laws. Opa is definitely one to call if you have a problem.
And even though he’s not my father, although sometimes he does ask me, “Who’s your daddy?” (again, I’m kidding…sort of) there’s my husband and the father of my two children.
No, that’s not his real ‘stache. Haha. This man here is one of the most amazing and wonderful men I know. He works hard, he does what needs to be done. He sacrifices a lot of time with his family so that we can have the things we have. He works his butt off so that the kids and I are taken care of. He is willing to miss out on so much so that I can be home in case the kids are sick (or, like right now, out of school for the summer). I would follow him to the ends of the earth (and almost have…Pennsylvania was way out there) and back again if he asked me to. He knows how to let loose and have fun, on occasion. Like the others before him, he will give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. I have lived the past almost ten years of my life in the oilfield for this man. It’s not always easy, but someone’s got to do it. My love for this man grows stronger every day. I am proud that my children have him to call Daddy.
Happy Father’s Day to these five wonderful dads, and all the other dads (and moms) out there!