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Father/Daughter Father’s Day bike ride 2020.

Today on Father’s Day, I am used to being without my father. Still, how is it 19 years have passed since I spent a Father’s Day with my dad? Facebook is full of tributes to men like my father who are no longer around—some long gone and some whose recent losses leave sharp, new aches. But I am glad that so many of the people I know still have dads who are alive, including my husband and his brothers. I am grateful that Duane is still here and living in his own home—and I love seeing pictures of living fathers I knew in my youth and living fathers who I don’t know but who matter to people I know.

And, most importantly to me, I rejoice that my kids’ father, Sherman, is out celebrating at this time by riding his bike with our daughter. That he is doing so was not a given, because, despite his age and fitness level, he had a heart attack 2 ½ years ago. Thankfully, due to the addition of a stent as well as medication and diet changes, Sherman continues to ride on this earth, exercising as he always did—but with his heart pumping more effectively.

This man of my heart rides his bike—mostly by climbing up steep hills on his mountain bike—from three to five times a week. He is dedicated to staying strong. And, because he cares that others continue to have the opportunity to move as they are able, he wears a face covering.

I’m going to guess that many people these days are worried about their dads, grandpas, husbands, and other loved ones. But it appears that some other people don’t seem to worry about dads, grandpas, husbands, and loved ones who fall outside their circles.

To the man who took time to mock my husband and me for wearing masks as we walked our dogs outside, what about protecting my 91-year-old father-in-law, let alone my husband who still has heart disease—despite his activity level—or my 20-something son, who has asthma? You might call wearing a face covering the act of a sheep, but we call it wearing our hearts on our faces.

Because, seriously, how can people go around saying that all lives matter when they find so much offense in the suggestion of wearing a mask to protect others? If you really believe all lives matter, then show it by following general guidelines to protect all in these days of COVID-19. Understand that we all have special people who matter to us—and that what we’re saying by wearing face masks isn’t that we’re weak (although some of us might be, and wouldn’t protecting us still be worthy of showing that all lives matter?), but that we know that everyone has people in their lives that matter to them and people who they want to help stay well.

On this Father’s Day, let’s honor the wellness of all our special men—whether they are elderly, have medical conditions, or appear to be fit enough to battle whatever may come their way.

I don’t get to have a father to worry over anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t worry for the men I know in my life—or the men I don’t know—who matter to others. And, yes, that means men who society has traditionally treated as if they don’t matter. And—sigh—it also means the kind of men who would refuse to attempt to protect others or who, even worse, go out of their way to physically harm or mock those who look, think, or act differently than they do.

I have to admit, though, that I’m having a harder time these days attempting to care about people who aren’t afraid to shout that they won’t try to care for all. All means all. Since I can only truly work on my heart, it’s to my own heart where I have to return. So, I’ll repeat it for myself—and anyone else who needs to hear it.

Love one another. Our Father in Heaven gave His Son that message to give to us. Are we listening?

Love all the fathers. And everyone else. Keep wearing your hearts on your faces.

P.S. Miss you, Dad! Glad you are already safe.

Yesterday was Father’s Day. My dad’s been gone for over seven years, so Father’s Day is an odd celebration for me. But my kids have a dad, so it was his day, complete with a new digital camera, brunch in our own home, and a water balloon fight and kite flying with the extended family. It was his opportunity to slow down for an afternoon.

Sherman isn’t one to slow down too much and he doesn’t ask for much from others. So often I am guilty of not slowing down enough to see what he might want or need. It’s so much easier to jump into taking care of the kids’ needs or doing what my mom needs because those needs are either obvious—or I get requests from the people in need.

However, without Sherman, I wouldn’t be able to take care of my mother or kids as well as I do. He’s the one who takes care of me. He goes with me to see my mother when I am afraid to go alone. He moves his schedule so I can exercise and refuel. And he’s always been the meal man around here.

I am so blessed. Yet he’s not my father. He is a father to our children like my father was to me: the dad who provides materially and supports activities. But he is also much more of a father than my dad was. When my dad came home from a hard day’s work, he sat down in his chair and let people do for him.

President Obama was quoted in several places speaking on the importance of Father’s Day, as well as his personal loss of growing up without a father. Barack Obama emphasized how important it is for all children to have an involved father. I’m sure the president would have been happy to have the kind of father Sherman and I had.

But the involved fathers of today do much more than our fathers did for us—and for sure they do a larger variety of things for their wives than our fathers did for our mothers. Sherman does even more than many of the men I know now do. He doesn’t divide up work into men’s work or women’s work or dad’s work or mom’s work. If there’s a job to do, he just does it, even if that means he never gets a chance to sit down and just relax.

My kids don’t always know how lucky they are to have their dad. I think that’s because he has always given to them at the same level throughout their lives. When they get around some other families, that’s when they are often reminded just how special he is. Yes, he can get grumpy and gruff, but at the same time, he’s there for them, usually with both his offbeat humor and support—and, as Christiana would say—with that “stupid grin” on his face—even when he’s really frustrated with any of us.

Because that same humor and support never really slows down for me either, I’ve made it through this crazy year. Happy Father’s Day to the father of my children! Keep grinning!

Sherman playing Davey Jones in Cabo 05/09 (c) CBL

Sherman playing Davey Jones in Cabo 05/09 (c) CBL

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