Happy Father's Day!
Thanks to my Dad for always being there for me and for my son, Alex. You taught me so many things, including how to fish, and I cherish all those memories I have of us in the boat on Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota. You raised me as your own and I am grateful to still have you in my life.
Thanks to QH, who has been Alex's Dad for the last 15 of his 21 years. You have also been a great Dad to your own sons who still call and ask you for guidance and advice. You've also become a wonderful grandpa and I love you more each day when I see you melt holding little Ava in your arms.
Thanks to my grandfather, Julian (Bud) Crawford, who passed on when I was fifteen. He gave me the best advice anyone has ever given me, "Trust your gut." Coming from a World War II veteran, it's proven to be the wisest and truest thing I've ever heard. I've always regretted when I've gone against this advice. Thanks, Grandpa.
Thanks also to George Hathaway, QH's Dad, who passed away last year. Your son is fond of saying, "Don't sweat the small stuff," which is your advice. We all miss you and your laugh, especially when we watch Bugs Bunny, or Yosemite Sam ("Whoa, Camel!"). Thanks also for being my "reading buddy."
And finally, thanks to the father I never met. There have been times in my life when I thought I hated you for abandoning me and Mom all those years ago. I also wondered over the years why you never looked for me, or why I never looked harder for you. If you are alive or have passed on, it doesn't matter to me anymore. I've forgiven you for abandoning us, and have decided to let that fantasy of a tearful, Oprah-moment reunion go on and be part of my past. I can't carry that around anymore, I have much more important things to do. I've had a good life, and will continue to have a good life, with or without you. After all, you are the one missing out.
If your father is alive, or estranged from you, or passed on, find a moment to thank them, or forgive them (which is for your benefit, not theirs), or send a prayer to them. Dad's don't get the recognition they deserve, and often don't get shown the love and support they need to be active, loving parents. The court system often ignores the rights of fathers in divorce and custody hearings, when all they want is to be part of their children's lives, not just financially, but physically and emotionally as well. As a country, we need to stop putting all the power in the hands of the courts and the bias against fathers needs to end.
Thanks to all the fathers who have stepped up, taken responsibility and raised their sons and daughters to do the same. And a special thanks to all the Dads who are serving our country in the armed forces, both at home and abroad.