Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Tribute to Fathers

"My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me."
Jim Valvano

Father's Day has special meaning to me and so I am posting a tribute to all the men in my life that mean a great deal to me and truly represent what fatherhood is all about.

In 1993 my mother died and I was left an orphan (sort of). You see I had never met my birth father and was not sure I wanted to. My mother had been married four times and none of these men were exactly the epitomy of good fathers.

However, in 1999 I was on a spiritual journey and decided to look for him. I picked up the phone and contacted Lee, a local private investigator who was a member of one of the Chambers of Commerce to which I belong. The only information I had about my father was his name, date and place of birth and that he lived in NYC in the 50's. In less than an hour Lee called me back with his address and phone number.

It took me 3 years (and a couple of glasses of wine with my dear friend Linda Stein) to finally get up the nerve to contact him. She helped me write the letter I eventually sent to him - a few months later. I sent the letter in a birthday card and said I would just like to introduce myself. He wrote back to say how brave I was to have written, not knowing how he might respond. He also said he was glad I contacted him because he had no other children.

That's only the beginning of our story. He has turned out to be an incredible person. We have a wonderful relationship and he even gave me away at my wedding in November 2005.

Every day I am grateful that I didn't wait to long to contact him - we had already missed so much and the very thought that he could have passed away before I had the opportunity to at least meet him makes me realize just how "lucky" I am to have done so just at that moment.

In addition to my incredible DAD, I have an equally wonderful husband. We have been together for almost 16 years and in 2005 decided to get married. It is the best decision I ever made! It was a beautiful wedding to the most beautiful, romantic, caring, compassionate and smart man I know. Timmy is not only my best friend, he is the perfect step father to my children. They love him very much.

The third man in my life to pay tribute to is my son-in-law Henry, the father of my two absolutely beautiful redhaired grandchildren. He is the son I never had! He is a good father, husband and loving son in law - his quirky sense of humor makes him perfect fit for our family! And he's a redhead too!

The fourth man in my life to pay tribute to is Bill Mooney, my father in law. If there were a store to "order" the perfect father in law, I would have chosen Bill. He is kind, compassionate, has a great IRISH sense of humor and he's even smarter than his son! I just love to be around him. Like father, like son.

And finally I'd just like to say how lucky I am to not only have these men in my life, I also have a very special (former) father in law. Even though his son and I got divorced, Fred is still very much a part of our lives. He celebrates all ocassions with us and has been a very supportive part of my life through many trials and tribulations as well as triumphs.

Thank you to all the men in all our lives, be they fathers, sons, brothers, friends - Happy Father's Day!

"Be kind to thy father, for when thou wert young,Who loved thee so fondly as he? He caught the first accents that fell from thy tongue, And joined in thy innocent glee." Margaret Courtney

Wishing you a wonderful Father's Day... and then some!

Heidi Richards

“Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.” Anne Sexton

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