In many ways I grew up without a dad. My dad was physically present, but I never really got to know him, because he was checked out.
He then died rather suddenly when I was 15. I was heart broken, for so many reasons. At the time all my reasons made perfect sense.
He’d never see me graduate high school or college. He wouldn’t walk me down the isle or get to do the father/daughter dance. He’d never met his grandchildren and he wouldn’t get to grow old with my mom.
However, as time has gone on and many years has passed I’ve realized multiple things. Most important was the fact that my dad was suffering and there was nothing in this life which could save him from the pain.
And second there would men in my life who got to be a “stand in” dad to me without all the ugly.
They got to miss my first period, the first boyfriend, the first breaking of the rules. They got to love me without ever really having to go through the really hard stuff, they got to just love me as me.
These men, these fathers, all taught me very important things. Each had their own lesson to share. Each one helping me along my journey in their own way.
For all the stand in fathers in my lifetime, thank you for being what I needed, even when I didn’t want it. I’m grateful for each and every one of you.