June 17, 2001 was a Sunday. It was also Father’s Day. A couple of weeks ago I thought about writing about this particular Father’s Day and then I looked at the calendar and realized that Father’s Day fell on the same date this year! It felt almost coincidental.
I’ve always tried to find special gifts or reminders to give to my Dad on his birthday, Christmas and Father’s Day. Sometimes I go overboard but I only have a few occasions every year that I can really buy for him – so why not? Sometimes the perfect gift comes to mind quickly. Other times I look around a few times before finding the perfect gift. As the special day approaches I find myself getting more anxious when I haven’t come up with something. In the end, I usually do okay.
But Father’s Day 2001 was a memorable one. Not because of something I gave him but because of something he gave me.
That year both of my grandfathers were still alive so it was a busy day. I went to church in the morning, visited both of my grandfathers, and spent as much time with my Dad as possible. Watched him open gifts and had dinner; the typical Father’s Day get together. As I said goodbye to my father and started towards my car he handed me an envelope. I remember asking him what it was and he just said that it was for me and wished me a Happy Father’s Day.
Driving home that night seemed to take longer than it normally did just because I had something I wanted to open. I remember pulling into my driveway and opening the envelope before I even went into my house. Inside was a letter and a CD. I won’t go into all the details of the letter but it started like this:
Today is Father’s Day. I wanted to make this one especially special by giving you a gift. You’re probably wondering why I would do such a thing. There are more than a few reasons. But firstly, it is because I could never have been a father without you. You are responsible for some of the greatest moments of joy that I shall ever experience in this lifetime… (This might be the first moment that I started to choke up reading his letter. Scratch that. I choked up when I realized I had a letter so that must have been the line that triggered the first tear!)
It went on from there but I will probably continue to keep the rest of the letter between my Dad and I.
Towards the end of his letter he reminds me to keep God in my life and that… when all else seems to fail, He will always be there. A reminder I really need from time to time.
Anyway, I guess I just want to send out a thank you to my Dad.
Because Dad, it’s you that didn’t let me quit.
You prompted me to learn a new skill.
You brought me energy that I could not have survived without.
You held my hand and sat awake all night during my hospital stay.
You pushed me to stand and push forward.
Tonight I thought I’d share a quote that seems perfect for today:
100 years from now it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much I had in my bank account, nor what my clothes looked like but the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child. ~Forest E. Witcraft
Right now seems like the perfect time to grab a cup of tea, read this letter once more and then tuck it away for safekeeping once again.