In the dwindling hours of what was left of an extra special day to celebrate and honor the Fathers in our lives, I lay awake in bed, beside the man who holds a very unique position in this family.
I would like to introduce you to this man.
This man... has sacrificed a life of time and leisure to commit to the next 10+ years of legal and fiscal responsibility for 7 additional children which he is not biologically responsible for creating.
This man... has provided these same children with the safety and security of a home of their own.
This man... has sacrificed his own needs and desires in abundance to provide these children with their own needs and desires.
This man... attends - and at times has even coached - every possible sport practice, game and/or academic function which he is physically able to attend.
This man... sits and helps these children with their homework, reviews every grade, and encourages their education.
This man... teaches them to work hard, the value of a dollar, and how to respect and care for what you are blessed to have in this world.
This man... wipes tears, mends owies, and fearlessly protects.
This man... holds on to every card, every picture, and every special token of their love and devotion to him.
This man... not only honorably serves in the United States Air Force Reserves, teaches these children the values of respect, honor and integrity in all things.
This man... each and every one of these children calls "Daddy", "Dad", and "Father".
This man... made the choice to be the Dad these children needed in their life so desperately and who loves them as though they are truly his own flesh and blood.
This man... chose to assume the honorable and noble role that the Universe had assigned to another who failed to appreciate and respect the value of the role.
This man... who has absolutely no legal obligation to be a Father to these children, happily and successfully performs and even excels in this position.
The law says that, in return for all the blood, sweat, tears, heartache, time, love and money that this man puts in to raising these children, and for doing all the things a Father SHOULD do - as honorable a man he is - has no legal rights pertaining to these 7 children.
The "Law" indicates that the biological paternal counterpart - the one who has failed to perform in any of the above roles because it didn't suit his lifestyle - is "entitled" to a relationship with these children who are, in all reality, complete strangers to him.
This is reality.
Yet in the face of this reality...
Knowing that he could just as soon really away and have no absolutely no legal responsibility to see this commitment through...
This man remains ever vigilant. Ever steadfast. Ever keeping guard over the hearts, minds, physical and emotional welfare of these children.
This MAN... is a FATHER.
I know this because I had a Father like this. And, by the power of the Universe, in reward for my Father's devotion to his role in my life, the law agreed and I was legally made his daughter. (Frankly, I'm convinced that I got the better end of THAT deal!)
I have always wished for my children to have the love and devotion of a true Father, as I had. That kind of commitment and devotion is not a guarantee in the biology of a man, although it can and frequently does occur within those genetic links. This kind of commitment and devotion happens in the heart and it is overpowering. Men who feel that "Father Power" for children without a biological connection... Well, that's something extra special.
Who says wishes don't come true?
To my Father, Arthur... I will forever and for always be a Daddy's girl...
To my soon-to-be-husband and a Father in every way that matters, even when you didn't have to be, Michael... I gave you my broken heart, my emotionally wounded children, and a you gave us back a family. You're not only magic, you're epic!
And, finally to his Father, Lou, who has that Father Power squared... If not for your Father Power in your own family, this family would not be what it is today. Y'all wired him right and THAT is worthy of my eternal gratitude.
People, any idiot can biologically create a life, but it takes a MAN to be a FATHER and turn that life into something splendid! These three men are the finest men among men.
I honor you all. I love you all. I thank you.all.