What Father's Day Now Means To Me

Hug your father if you are lucky enough to still have one.
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My father and me.
My father and me.
Vinny the Barber. My Dad.
Vinny the Barber. My Dad.

If you are lucky enough to grow up with a father like mine, there are a few things that you learn from a young age. A father puts their well being aside to help their children. They sacrifice happiness, comfort, tranquility, and rest to make sure that their children are happy and well cared for. They will threaten any man who walks through the door (even if they are just your friend) with violence to make sure they are absolutely terrified to bring their daughter any harm. They apparently have an energizer bunny battery on their back and can run circles around most guys 30 years their junior. And they will teach you that not every relationship is perfect, but at the base of it should always be love.

My father wasn't always the easiest man to get along with. But he would have jumped in front of a bus if I told him that's what I needed. He was ALWAYS there for my family. I believed my father would outlive cockroaches. His personality was larger than life, and the amount of energy that man had was almost unfathomable.

He slept 4 hours a night, worked all day, came home and did yard work, ran errands, built castles, fought dragons.... You get the point. But 7 years ago, we got the news that he had stage four Renal Cell Carcinoma, and it only took a year to snatch him up to the heavens.

But he didn't go out with out a fight.

He had no symptoms until it was entirely too late, but he pushed through once the symptoms did start. And he kept working until it became too much. "Vinny the barber" would lay down his cutting shears and finally rest. I took that year as he got worse to be his round the clock nurse, when my mother was at work. I learned how to cook for him, helped him with anxiety attacks and coughing fits, comforted him when he was in pain, and generally learned how to reconnect with him in a strange way through being there when HE needed ME.

In the end, that entire experience made me realize that life is precious, and time is fleeting. And after they are gone, we are here to continue to live as vibrantly as they did, in their honor and memory. It's been 6 years since I lost my dad. Even writing that makes zero sense to me. But I am trying to make the best life I can for myself and my family, because that is what he did for us when he was here.

Everything I do, I do to pick up where he left off. Father's day is no longer celebrating with him. It's a time to remember him. And while I have only shared some of his life in a tiny nutshell, you can understand the sentiment.

My message to you is to hug your Father, if you are lucky enough to still have one. Because when once they are gone, you are only left with the memories. And memories aren't your actual father. They are wonderful, but it's nothing like the real thing. Earth wasn't big enough for my Dad's huge personality, but the skies of Disney are. Happy Father's day to my father, and all of those father's who have earned the title "Dad".