Twenty five years you’ve had the opportunity to celebrate today…and for many of those years you were not here. You missed a great deal of my sister’s and my life, but I never judged you for that, I was never bitter, I have always been proud. In primary school, I recall the lead up to one Father’s Day. Our teacher had us students make a small gift, a gift that would have inevitably ended up in the bin, but it’s the thought that counts right. She gave a little spiel about making this object, but then turned to me. She seemed to have thought she had spoken some faux pas as she stuttered slightly, “Oh…Ashayla…maybe you can make something nice for your mum instead?” I was furious. I don’t remember what it was she wanted us to make, but I remember scolding her, telling her I didn’t like her tone of voice or what she implied with it. I told her quite firmly, as you had taught me to speak with conviction, that my dad was at sea somewhere, defending our country, that it was because of people like you, that people like her were free to teach, celebrate, etc. I landed in the vice-principal’s office. It’s a good thing he liked me. Even in primary school, when I barely knew myself, knew what the world had install for me, I knew I was proud of you.
Yes, you missed a great deal of my early life, of my sister’s as well. I know this tears you up a little and I know that you have been trying to make up for that in recent years. I know, that when the day comes, that I have my own children, you will be the best grandfather you can possibly be to them. You’ve made mistakes. Everyone does. I hope you know that I do not blame you for anything, that I hold no ill will and that I am still proud of you. You will never see yourself as I do, as the funny, charismatic, hard-working, knowledge seeking, caring, amazing dad that you are. You may beat yourself up, but I never have. To me, you will always be my dad, my number one guy, someone I know will be there when I need, someone I know will teach me when I ask, someone I know will push me to be better, gain better, live better then you ever did. You have only ever wanted the best for me and my sister. We know that. We appreciate that.
No, you weren’t there when we were young. I know you feel you missed much, and you did, but know that you shaped us to be the people we are. Know that your presence and your absence was nothing and everything to us, that every time you look at us and feel pride, it is a large part because of you. You dad. Our dad. Know that we love you with all our hearts. Know the pride we feel for you. Know that you are always with us, close to our hearts and in our minds.
On this day, your twenty-fifth year of being a father, know the importance of you.
Happy father’s day.