February 14 is a universal celebration of love. Tomorrow will mark the 14th year I participate in a Memorial event to honor the many Missing and Murdered Women of Canada. The first March was held in Vancouver in 1991 and similar events have expanded across Canada over the years. The Memorial March for the Missing and Murdered Women of Edmonton was established in 2006 by Danielle Boudreau.
Tonight, however, on Valentine’s eve, I would like to celebrate the fathers among us who cherish and support their children in a healthy and joyful manner. Without them, even more young girls would be vulnerable to looking for love in the wrong places and more young boys would be confused.
A very moving tribute was posted last week by a young woman whose father passed away suddenly. I find myself continually returning to her words and my heart wishes the sentiments expressed could be universal.
I appreciate all the dads out there who are able to inspire such a response and the daughter who was willing to share her story. While respecting her privacy, I hope her words (with minimal editing) will touch the hearts of many more.
“Losing Dad has been the greatest pain I’ve ever experienced.
Dad adopted me when I was 4 years old. I have a very distinct memory of climbing on his lap when he was my mom’s BF and asking him to be my dad. He said nothing would make him happier, and for 27 years he’s constantly reminded me that being my dad was one of the greatest joys of his life, even when I was “being a turkey” …
Some of the things I’ve been lucky enough to share with him:
- His incredible family who welcomed me with open arms
- A whole horde of people all over the place who would do anything for me once they find out I’m “Dad’s kid”
- The desire to bring people together, build community, and help out however and whomever I can,
- Many, many hours of tough love lectures (with minimal eye-rolling on my part)
- Countless camping trips with friends and family
- Summers spent trucking throughout Canada, talking about life…
Dad never, not once, missed a chance to tell me he loved me, he was proud of me, and that he loved being my dad. I wish I had told him more often what he meant to me, but it’s ok because he knew…”
An aside to the story is that, although things did not work out between the parents, the dad remained faithful to his chosen role of guiding and loving his new daughter and included her in his new life. He provides an exceptional role model for all dads, biological and adoptive, married and divorced, and everything in between, to remain focused on the needs of children in their care.
My wish is for all parents to find their own peace within themselves so they can be accepting, loving and supportive. All children deserve to be cherished and coached patiently to maturity.