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Celebrating the dads...

This weekend many people will be celebrating Dad with family gatherings, cookouts, phone calls, and maybe gifts to show Dad how special he is. I will be spending time with my family, celebrating both my husband and son, each of whom works hard to be a wonderful father and provider for their families.

I will also be thinking of other important men in my life, people who all had a part in shaping me into the person I am today. Men like my dear father, who taught me to be a strong, independent person because girls can do almost everything boys can do. My grandfathers, one of whom was my rescuer and the other who taught me how to make hand-dipped corndogs and shake fresh lemonade with both hands at the same time.

And I cannot forget my father-in-law of 33 years, whose quiet strength and affection has added so much to my life.

I realize there are many, many people who learned to thrive without a Dad, or empowered themselves to overcome trauma caused by a father figure, and I applaud them.

I also applaud all the good men who stood in for missing fathers, whatever the reason. They too deserve to be celebrated.

My heart also hurts for those fathers who aren’t able to be with family right now. These often older men who live alone, far from loved ones, unable to travel due to health or financial concerns.

In honor of my own father, who was one of the most compassionate people I have ever known, I urge you to reach out to someone who is alone on Father’s Day. Check on a widowed neighbor. Spend a few minutes in conversation with your own father if you can. Reach out to a father figure and let them know they are appreciated. Show someone extra kindness.

Sunday is Father’s Day and it highlights the hole left in my life when my dad died. But it also gives an opportunity to remember his unconditional love and celebrate the joy he brought to our whole family.

I hope you each find some joy celebrating a Dad this year.

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