The photo is of me and my dad in 1969. I was 7. It was a little scary at the base of Blackwater Falls in WV, but I knew I was safe with dad's arm around me. Not too long after that, they fenced off the area, and now you can only see the Falls from a boardwalk. Every time I go there, I stand on the boardwalk, and remember when daddy took me down to the river's edge.
I wish he was still here to put his arm around me. He died suddenly, in his sleep, in 2009.
Was he perfect? No.
Were there times we didn't see eye to eye? Yes.
Were there times I was mad at him because he wouldn't let me do what I wanted to do? Yes.
I always knew he loved me. When I was rebelling, I didn't always want to believe that he loved me.
But I knew he did.
And, once I had my own children, I understood much more clearly why he made the rules he did.
And, I'm glad now that he made them.
My mom grew up without her dad. He died when she was quite young, and she only had a couple memories of him. She always stressed to me how important it was to have a father, or someone who could fill that role if the biological father could not be there. How right she was.
If you are lucky enough to still have your father here on this earth, thank him for what he's done. If like me, your dad is no longer here, but is now a memory, smile as you remember him.
But then, he's not just a memory, he is very much still a part of my every day life.
Happy Father's Day!