By Lane Pease, Program Director
First of all, anything I write about Father’s Day would not be complete if I did not honor my late husband and father to my daughters, Jim. He was a wonderful father that seemed to take to parenthood naturally from the moment our first daughter was born (a lot more naturally than me as a matter of fact). While he was sick, his greatest sorrow was that he would not be there for us and be able to watch his girls grow up. He so looked forward to all the things they would do together. He died when Zelda was 4 years-old and Lucy was 9 months-old over 15 years ago now.
When my husband died, among the million and one things that I worried about was who would be there for my daughters as a good male role model. Who would play rough? Who take them to the daddy/daughter events? Even more importantly, who would show them what to look for in a man? However, pretty soon afterwards I learned that I could cross this off my million and one worries (leaving me with just a million). Family and friends stepped up and gave them something that I could not.
First of all, my sister married a truly wonderful man. She is a wonderful woman, so it was a natural match. They have their own daughter born between my oldest and youngest. My brother-in-law, David, much like Jim, is a natural father. My sister and I have always been close and David has been there as well every step of the way. Vacations became extended family events. David swam with all 3 girls hanging on to him. He was the one that took Lucy (the baby) out of the restaurant when she was restless, so that I could finish a meal in peace. He took Lucy to the “Favorite Fellow” girl scout dances every year (dressing for theme no less). He stepped into their lives not only without any reluctance, but with true love and devotion to them. Just the other day, David wanted to make sure he sent Zelda a care package since she is going to college through the summer. Words I can write here cannot fully express the important role David has had in the lives of my daughters.
Others stepped up as well, my own dad, who died 5 years ago, played an active role when they were growing up. Visits to their other grandfather (also gone now) showed them the true meaning of the word “gentlemen.” As for the “rough play”, my good friend, James, was the answer. He would visit frequently and became “jungle James” where he let them climb and swing on him and, Zelda’s favorite: letting her walk on the ceiling. He has been there caring and loving and proud of them to this day. There are others as well. The coaches and dads of their friends that stepped up.
No one could ever replace their dad, but this Father’s Day I honor those that stepped up and filled some of that void.