Father vs. Dad

My parents were divorced when I was very young and I was raised by a man that I most frequently called “Max”.

I grew up spending most of my time with my step-father, and always longed for a better relationship with my Dad.  In the year 1995 my father died.  Plaintiff and I loaded up the girls and headed down for the funeral.  I cried most of the drive, and of course my girls cried too.

When we got to the funeral home, my 6 year old daughter walked to the coffin with me and stood silently by my side looking at my Dad.  She got my attention and softly asked a life altering question – “Daddy – That’s not Grandpa, who is that?”  Although my girls had met my Father a few times in their lives, they new my step-father as Grandpa.  I called Max that night and started doing my best to refer to him with the title he had earned by raising me – “Dad”.

Max taught me so very much in life.  Much of it was taught to me against my will as I kicked and screamed along the way.  He taught me that I can’t actually walk faster than he was driving.  He taught me that my word is a commitment. He taught me the meaning of an honest days work. He taught me how to repair things, how to stand my ground and how to love someone with all my heart.  Of course I didn’t realize I was learning any of these things at the time…

My baby girl taught me to look at things differently that day in 1995.  She opened my eyes to something that I was staring at, but never saw. For that I am eternally grateful.

My girls have heard me say it often – Any guy can be a Father.  It takes 2-3 minutes in the back seat of a car.  It takes true commitment, dedication and love to be a Dad.  Ooga-booga taught me that.


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