I love Father’s Day. It’s a day to help my kids thank their dad for all he does for them. And for me to think about all that Brock does for our family. He is in the thick of little league coaching, is wrapped around his baby girl’s finger the second she screams “Da!! Da!!” when he comes home, chases down the ice cream man when the kids hear the music, has weekly wrestling matches that rival the highest paid PPV matches, and gets all the kids laughing when he randomly turns on the sprinklers when everyone is playing outside. His kids LOVE him, and I love him for loving them so much!
I also love Father’s Day as a day to celebrate what a great dad I have found in my Papa Chris (aka, my step dad). I am an extremely lucky girl to have such an amazing dad in my life. Heavenly Father blessed me with someone who I know loves me like his own. And loves my kids as his own grandkids. He would do anything for us, and he gives me all the right fatherly love and advice I pretty much always need. I am truly blessed to call him my dad!
Father’s Day used to be a really hard day for me. I lost my dad to brain cancer shortly after my 14th birthday. My dad was my person growing up. He’s the one who “got me.” And I loved making him proud. My dad and I played catch almost every summer evening. We had epic “around the world” games, too. He sat in a banana chair on the sidelines of my softball games, and he paced the halls of my gymnastics meets because I didn’t want him watching inside for fear of letting him down. I still remember the feeling of his finger on my hand when he played, “all around the bush… here sits the bear…” (which I’ve played with all my kids, too). I loved when he would sit me on his lap and let me steer the car down our street. I remember cuddling my head as far as I could into his arm on the roller coaster he dragged me on. I loved being on the golf course with him, and feeling how proud he was when I hit a good shot. And I love how close I still feel to him when I step onto those hallowed greens. I felt especially loved on “bring your kids to work day” at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant as I walked into his office and saw the newspaper articles about my state championship win in gymnastics and the essay contest I won. He held me as I cried after finding out I only had months left with him. And he got me one final present shortly before he died – my first SLR camera.
I still have that camera. But that’s not why I became a photographer. It may have been a step towards it. But the reason I became a photographer is this first picture below – my favorite picture of me and my dad. You see, I have very few pictures of me with my dad. But these ones that I do have are truly my greatest possessions – they are the things I would save if my house were burning down (and our home videos). Because this is what I have left. I don’t have any letters from him. I don’t have his clothes, his belongings, his cologne. I have these to remind me of everything my dad was for me. These and my memories. And pictures help me keep those memories.
And that’s why I became a photographer. So I could be a part of creating others’ greatest possessions. But the sad thing is, I lose sight of that all too often (as we all do). When my father-in-law was diagnosed with West Nile virus last fall, and then passed away shortly after, my husband sadly searched his phone the entire way home from the hospital for pictures of his dad. And his siblings did the same. We had a small collection growing, but I was so disappointed in myself. In the 10+ years we had been married, the few pictures I’ve included are some of the very few I have of my father-in-law. And I had to DIG through old hard drives to find them. I didn’t take the time to make sure that our little family had those little moments that warranted taking the camera out and preserving a memory. Or I was just too busy to take notice. Or I didn’t want to take pictures because taking pictures is my job. But losing my father-in-law reminded me of how important the little parts of our days are. And how important it is to make preserving memories and record keeping more of a priority in my life.
I am grateful to the stupid phone I always have on me because it allows me to capture almost every big and little event in my kids’ lives. But I do wish I took more time to capture the rest of our family, too. So I guess that will be my goal. And that will be my gift to my dad this Father’s Day. Not to just take pictures with the whole family, but to be more purposeful in the time I spend with them. I am very blessed to have so many people in my life who I love – and who love me in return. And I’m especially blessed to have lots of dads in Heaven who I know love me and watch over me too!
Happy Father’s Day to all men who are dads in some way or another! We love you. And we appreciate you!