He probably suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the War, but of course, no one called it that back then, and he tended to take it out on those nearest and dearest, especially my younger brother, and although he never laid a hand on the girls, my poor brothers caught it in spades. I'm not posting his picture on FaceBook today, although I loved him in my own way, but I married the person in the Universe as least like him as I could find.
Himself is the gentlest soul and the deepest. I didn't know when we got married what kind of a father he would turn out to be. We forgot to discuss minor stuff like "How many children do you want?" or "Are you a disciplinarian or a 'Let them do what they want!' kind of guy?" But my boys and I got very lucky. In over twenty years of marriage we might have had two arguments. Maybe three. These children grew up hearing their father say, "Thanks for ironing my shirt" and "Thanks for making dinner" every day. They hear their parents say "I love you" several times a day. Dad is the one they go running with, hike Mount Washington with, bike with. He sets a wonderful example in staying healthy, as does his father, who is also one of the gems of the world. Himself kisses his father whenever they part, so the boys do, too. My favorite memory of Himself as a Dad is reading "Casey At the Bat" as a bedtime story to Son Number One on the day in second grade Little League Baseball when he made the last out that lost the game. Himself got so choked up, lying on the bed between two little boys who were propped up on their elbows, that he couldn't finish, so Mom had to step in and read the end. There were tears in Dad's eyes. I thought I couldn't possibly love him more than at that moment. I was wrong. He continues to touch my heart in amazing ways.
So to all the fathers out there, whether it's biology or a kind and caring heart that gives you that title, enjoy your day. "Uncles" count. So do priests, coaches, Scout leaders, and those teachers that change your life forever in the most wonderful ways that never make the papers. This is your day, too. And we couldn't do it without you.