So tomorrow is Father’s Day and I am sure many are blogging about their fathers or fatherhood in general as they think about this special day. Forget the ties and aftershave and funny jokes about Dad being a couch potato all day. Great fathers are rarer than hens’ teeth, and I happen to have two in my immediate family that I want to write about. My relationship with my father was unfortunately fraught with tension and difficulty. While I recognize that he was probably doing his best, his best was a bit rough. So in spite of the fact that I have done a fairly thorough job of letting it all go, he is not who springs to mind when I think of great fathers. And I admit to feeling envy when people, especially women, wax lyrical about their wonderful fathers. I wonder sometimes what I would have been like if I had had a father who respected and believed in me. But that is a topic for another day-or not.

My husband, Steve, is the first father I want to talk about. I was there for all of it, from the moment we knew we had a baby on board to now, with our youngest getting ready to marry. He is a father, a grandfather, and a father-in-law. I have seen his finest moments and some of his fails. Many moments I have not seen because they were private moments with one or the other of his children and not for me to be a part of. I know they were great moments because I know who my children have become as a result of his tender, unrelenting, respectful and fun love. In spite of the fact that his job required incredibly long hours of him, his children never felt unimportant or neglected. He made it to almost as many of their events as I did! Our children always want his input, his wisdom and advice. When he buys one of them a gift it is always perfect. They are each so different from the others and all feel like they are just fine in his sight. He prays for them, every day. He is always there for them. I know he isn’t perfect but he has done this so well. Happy Father’s Day to the father of my children. You are my hero!

The other father I want to give a shout-out to is my son, Alan. I was there for all of that too, from the moment they knew they were expecting. From the moment he found out, he has been a father to Avery. I remember watching him hold her right after she was born and just marveling at how tender he was, and how determined to be completely involved in every aspect of her care. it was a strange thing to watch my son from his own infancy to becoming a young man to suddenly being married with a child. In some sense I still felt responsible but I was quickly relieved of that idea. He and Samantha have been the best of parents, instinctively knowing when to be firm and when to relent. Avery is such a happy secure little girl. She is loved and she knows it. Alan, you are a wonderful father. I admire you every day and I am so proud of you! Happy Father’s Day to the father of my granddaughter! You are my hero!

I know that there are so many wonderful fathers out there, faithful, dependable, loyal and intensely loving their children. They aren’t living lives that are all about themselves, but giving from themselves in every way possible to make a life for their families. They are bucking the cultural norms of self-absorption, self-indulgence, self-promotion and a supreme value of self-actualization. They may not be the flashy newsmakers, the ones out front, the presidents and CEOs and movie stars. But to their families, they are heroes. If this sounds schmaltzy and Hallmark, too bad! I salute every one of them, and wish them a Father’s Day that lets them know how valued and loved they are.