June 16, 2024 Essay: On This Father’s Day

Jun 7, 2024

Father’s Day is a time to honor and celebrate the fathers and father figures who have left an indelible mark on our lives. Fatherhood, akin to motherhood, is a calling to nurture and shepherd young souls, making Father’s Day a moment of profound gratitude and admiration for the paternal figures who have shaped my journey. From my own father to my beloved husband, and all the father figures in between, their influence is felt in every aspect of my life.

My father was a man of many dimensions—a passionate, gentle giant, towering at six-foot-three, with a scholarly demeanor and a poet’s soul. His presence in our home was marked by contrasts; while his booming voice often echoed with impassioned discussions on politics or expressed disappointments in some of my choices, there were moments of quiet introspection, where he would be moved to tears by the melodies of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. In the midst of calmly teaching me life’s practical skills, like riding a bicycle or driving a car, there were other instances where his patience wore thin. Despite these contradictions, two things remained steadfast in my father’s character: his boundless love for his family and his unwavering faith.

Dad’s love for us shone through in countless small gestures—a tender hand holding my mother’s during their evening walks, a heartfelt poem penned to commemorate birthdays and anniversaries, or a simple goodnight kiss on the forehead. Moreover, his faith was deeply rooted in his daily practices—a devotion to Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, the recitation of the rosary without fail, and an avid reading of the Bible, seeking to deepen his relationship with God through prayer and reflection. Through his example, Dad instilled in me the virtues of courage, integrity, and above all, faith. As I reflect on the profound impact of my father’s influence in my life, I am filled with gratitude for his wisdom and the invaluable lessons he imparted.

Not surprisingly, my husband mirrors many of the qualities I admire in my father. From the moment we met, I was especially captivated by his discernment and contemplation of God’s presence in his life. Together, as a young married couple, we navigated life’s challenges hand in hand, rooted in our shared faith.

As the father of our two children, my husband embodies these same values of reflection, unwavering faith, and selflessness that shaped my upbringing. Whether he’s assisting with homework, tending to household chores, providing a compassionate ear, coaching our son’s Little League team, or attending countless recitals, his everyday actions are a testament to God’s love in action. He leads by example, teaching our children the importance of forgiveness and resilience. His role in our family is irreplaceable, it shapes our family’s dynamics and fills our home with warmth, joy, and love. His love is a reflection of God’s love, steadfast and unconditional, guiding our children toward becoming kind, discerning, and responsible individuals.

On this Father’s Day, let us remember the unwavering commitment, boundless love, and sacrifices made by our fathers and father figures. Let us honor and celebrate the men who have mentored us and have given of themselves to guide us. May their example inspire us to embrace the values of selflessness, humility, and courage in our lives and relationships, as we journey together in faith, love, and gratitude.