To all my Fathers.

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It is true. I am a Father. And with that responsibility, with that gift, comes this once a year event in which we are supposed to celebrate how wonderful I am (assuming that I am so wonderful). I will admit, I am not quite sure if I am here to talk about Father’s Day specifically, or maybe just what the worlds expectations for what defines someone as a Father is.

I guess it all depends on who we are and how we were raised to tell us what it is to be an amazing father right? Sounds good. Maybe it’s more. Maybe not. I mean, how can I deny that who my father was, didn’t shape me somehow into the father that I am right now, and also the father that I strive to be.

In my case, I learned from him some really valuable lessons. I learned who NOT to be. But does he get the credit for that, or was I just born with an ability to want to be a good father? It is so hard to decide. Maybe it is both. So then I decide to take a look around me, and I am so fortunate to have awesome role models. My mothers husband (we had a rough start), but he has definitely stuck by my side. I didn’t know if he had it, but he does. He is a good father (he has a daughter with my mother) and because of that, I take something good from him. Growing up, my friends fathers, or father figures were always good to me and showed me positives. They always took me in, but certainly were never afraid to show me discipline either (china cabinet moo! It really turned out better than I make it sound). I surely took something good from them. Even my first boss was an excellent role model. He also helped to shape and mold me by pushing towards better long term financial health (Roth IRA/401K enrollment immediately at 21). He left me with something good too. My father-in law. Wicked. What a wicked example. That guy is insane. I don’t know if he read some sort of damn book or something, but that guy, that guy gets it. The care he provided(s) for my wife and her sister is unbelievable and never ending. He is relentless with his love. Relentless. Damn. I can only dream of being that kind of man some day.

All of those beautiful men are some of the biggest influences in my idea of what an awesome father would be. They are my foundation. But just like everything in my life, that foundation needs to keep growing. And for that growth I tap the lives of my peers. My best friends. My brothers.

Bru and Moo. You guys have always been so dear to me. I trust you more than anyone. I know you. You know me. Even though we are all caught up in our super busy lives, I have never, ever, felt like we are that far apart. And because of that I am always using your lives as a benchmark for me. I know how great of a father each of you are. Both unique in your style. Different from me, and different from each other. Whether you know it or not, I take things from you that make me think. Things that can make me better. Make my sons better. And that is pretty damn important.

I think we all know that the expectations society has for all of us fathers is slowly changing. Society is finally getting something right. No more excuses for the men. We need to be just as active in our children’s lives as their mothers. Yes… A father is a father, and a mother is a mother. We certainly have different roles within the big picture of parenting, but we both are just as important to the process. So man up and strap that carrying pack on, and don’t forget to bring the Vera Bradley diaper bag (Diaper rash cream is not an option, you need to bring it). Crying is okay too. At least I hope so, because, well, maybe I have cried once, or twice, or enough to fill the bathtub weekly.

I look at my two sons, and I just cannot imagine not being here every single day to love and protect them. It is in me. It has always been in me.

However, maybe I only feel that way because I was always surrounded by men who felt the same way that I do now.

With that I must give thanks. Thank you to all of the fathers, both past and present, for taking care of me and teaching me what was right. You filled me up with guidance and love, and now you deserve some back.

Happy Fathers Day.

Ian

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