As I've gotten older and reflected on my past and the people in it, I'm grateful for the realization that I've had amazing father figures at many stages of my life.
Photo by Peter QuinnMy mother raised my brother and me (by herself), to love each other unconditionally, to protect each other fiercely and to work tirelessly for what we felt was important. She led by example when she instilled in us a strong work ethic and the belief that we were capable of anything we set our minds to. She was both mother and father to us, and I realize now that I didn't miss a thing.
My brother was my confidante, my biggest supporter and my best friend growing up and he never once made me feel like a nuisance - even though being his little sister, I'm sure I was more often than not. He taught me to stand up for myself, he gave me confidence and he made me feel loved and accepted throughout my childhood and well into adulthood. He's been with me through every important milestone in my life - he's helped me pick up the pieces after my failures, he walked me down the aisle at my wedding and he was prouder than anyone when I succeeded. He was and still is one of the most important people in my life.
In my early 30's, I had the good fortune to meet a wonderful man who became my husband and the father of my daughter. As I observe his relationship with her, I witness every day just what its like to have a great father. Someone who not only makes you feel safe and secure, but who puts band-aids on boo-boos, teaches you how to ride a bike, cuddles you when you're scared and makes you feel like the most important person in the world.
I've learned that fathers come in many forms and I've been blessed to have more than my share.
Happy Father's Day!