Today is a special day for celebrating Dads. Every year leading up to father’s day, I find myself in the same bind – frantically scanning the card section at a retail outlet for a nice father’s day card to give to my dad. I scan through the plethora of images of baseball gear, hockey equipment, golf clubs, tools, trophies, hunting and fishing gear, sailboats and the litany of catch phrases to the effect of “you’re the best”, “#1 Dad”, “to the Dad who does it all”, “take a load off today”, and “thanks for putting up with me”. And although I feel that these catch phrases are true about my dad, I’m faced with the same dilemma – how do I possibly choose a card that adequately describes how proud of and grateful I am for my dad?
Because the things we really want to thank you for, Dads, are the every day things. For teaching us the ups and downs of life, how to ride the waves, and helping us back up when we fall. It’s the impromptu conversations in the alleyway in the barn or while we’re working in the shop or field that provide guidance in a subtle (or not so subtle!) way. For giving us tough love when we needed it, yet also knowing when we’ve needed a friend. For teaching us the cycle of life on the farm; teaching us how to empathize, how to care for and respect other living things, and what it means to work hard for what we want. For reminding us that it’s not just about winning – it’s about teamwork and having fun along the way. For building our confidence in knowing that we can do anything the next person can do – and never mind our gender, age, or colour. For showing this is true by empowering, supporting and advocating for other members of our families, communities, and circle of friends. For being there to teach us the very basic skills in life and for knowing that your support is still irreplaceable in adult life.
So, here’s to all the dads. The dads who that parent in a partnership. The dads who tackle parenting alone. To the dads who co-parent. The dads who aren’t biologically so. Thanks to all the dads who no longer walk the earth, but whose voices are never forgotten, life lessons are never lost, and souls are always felt. Thanks to all the dads that make or have made our families and communities vibrant, and better yet, have taught their children to do the same. Thank you, Dad.