I grew up with a dad who made it clear in everything he did and still does that his family is the most important thing in the world. The kind of dad who would hold hands with his little daughters and skip through a parking lot. The kind of dad who would leave work early to make sure he was in the stands for a volleyball or basketball game. The kind of dad who always opens the car door for his wife. The kind of dad who knows how to work, and taught us how to work. The kind of grandfather who plain and simple adores (ADORES!!!) his grandchildren. The kind of grandfather who can get the kids riled up, but then somehow has the ability to make them go to sleep. The kind of dad who 100 times out of 100 would make his own life more difficult to make sure his kids were happy, and safe, and knew they were worthwhile and loved.
I see my Dad's influence in the way my brother is with his 2 little girls. I love to see my big (6'7") brother so tender with his little girls. He's the kind of dad that so actively engages in playing Mary Poppins or Sound of Music because that is what is important to his daughter. The kind of dad who bakes cookies with his daughters when mommy is out before bed time. The kind of uncle who acts like a dad with our boys, who adores his nephews who adore him right back.
If you know my father in law, you know where Leigh learned how to be an amazing dad. He's the kind of dad who is immediately and completely interested in whatever his kids are. Knowing very little about sports he always made time to not only be at Leigh's games but be engaged and interested, to make his kids feel like the most important people on the planet. The kind of dad who has made so many sacrifices to provide for his family. The kind of dad who is patient and tender no matter what. The kind of grandfather who glows when he is with his grandchildren.
And now my children are so blessed to have a dad who has taken so many of these things, and made them the fabric of who he is as a father. He's the kind of dad will take an hour long bike ride that covers a distance of 1 mile so that Lucas can practice on his bike. The kind of dad who coaches 4 year old soccer. The kind of dad who teaches summer school so that his children can have a (mostly) stay at home parent. The kind of dad who shows up at karate when we think he's going to be late at work. The kind of dad who makes up the best bedtime songs and stories. The kind of dad who can make an adventure out of anything. The kind of dad who can be brought to tears with the pride he feels in his sons, and with the fear and uncertainty we can all face as parents. The kind of dad who started from day one making sure his boys would grow up to be confident, capable, caring, compassionate, and considerate. The kind of dad who quietly goes about being a dad, who quietly dedicates the whole of who he is to his family, who quietly is the hero to two very important little boys.