It's Father's Day, and while I'm feeling all gushy about the dad-to-be in my life, I'm full of love for the other men who have helped shape me into the person I am today. The Fancy Men, a special breed of male. Hearty, stubborn, resourceful, intelligent, and complete softies. I love 'em all...
Grandpa Fancy AKA Gramps, I've talked about this man quite a bit. He's a true family guy, steadfast in preserving tradition and always available to offer a helping hand to those who need it. He was the one who opened his home to me and Evan when we needed to leave an apartment fast. We would have been in a serious pickle if it weren't for Gramps.
And let's talk about commitment. Gramps made my Grandma his wife and never looked back. He supported her and his family of four children until the kids were grown and moved on. When Grandma fell ill, he stayed right by her side until her dying day. They were married for 56 years. I can only hope that Evan and I will make it that long and be that devoted to each other.
Uncle Butch. He'd probably be furious if I wrote his real name ;) But he's always been Butch, and always will be. Butch and I had a great relationship when I was really young, and then my cousin Sarah was born. Much like a younger sibling, I think I struggled a bit sharing the attention with her. And so we had our moments, both being Fancy's an all, when he and I would compete in yelling matches after family dinner on Thursday nights.
Then Butch remarried and I grew very close to his stepdaughter. We were troublemakers, there's no way around it. Butch didn't have much patience for our shenanigans and we were constantly getting yelled at. This made me feel quite distant from him for many years. Of course, I look back on these times now and laugh.
Things came full circle as I grew older (and wiser), and the more I came to admire and respect my uncle. He's so much like Gramps, you see. It did help that he softened a bit as the years went on. Over the past few years he has been there for me in ways that no other man aside from my dad has been.
Dad. The one and only. I've been missing this man terribly since he passed in December of 2008. Sometimes I can't believe how long it's been since I've seen him. All of the memories I've created over the past four years and I haven't been able to call him up or share photos with him. But I remember with great fondness the 20 years that I did have with him.
He use to take me to Denny's for a late breakfast. We'd sit at the bar and he'd order me a Grand Slam, a breakfast much too big for any 10-year-old to be scarfing down. I was an avid wrestling fan because of him. We spent many nights in front of the TV rooting for our favorites and booing the bad guys. My dad and I also had the best movie nights. It was our thing, to go to the movie store a few blocks from our house to pick out two or three movies to watch over the weekend. I also credit my NES gaming skills to my dad.
My dad was always carting me and my friends around to the mall, to the movies, to other friends houses, and he rarely complained about it. He took me driving when I was 16 and exposed me to some great music of the 60's and 70's when I was growing up. "Taking Care of Business" will forever be our song.
My dad always had my back, no matter what. He was proud of me and he let me know. He supported my decisions and was always open to listen to what I had to say. It may have taken me a while to realize, but my dad was just as much a family man as his own father. Despite everything that stood in his way, my dad loved and cared about his family above and beyond anything else and I will never forget that.
And then there's this guy, Ev AKA Baby Daddy. Just kidding, I don't call him that. Ever.
He's the biggest goofball I've ever met, but also the most patient and caring. He has an adventurous spirit and an old soul, bringing out that side of me that I always knew existed but had a difficult time tapping into. My life has bloomed into something beautiful since he became a part of it and in just two short months we'll be sharing our biggest accomplishment with the world: our daughter.
So this is for all the wonderful men out there - Happy Father's Day to you all!