On days such as today, I am both amazed by and appreciative of the capacity and impact of social media. Looking at the pictures, reading the status updates, comments, tweets and blog posts celebrating fathers is so heartwarming and uplifting.
As my own father ages (as do I), I remember my early years with him in our small Florida Panhandle town. I would later realize that my formative years were very much a village environment. What I mean by that is, many of the adults and children in the town were my "aunts, uncles and cousins" although there was not a family biological or marital connection. The adults looked after us and the children, well we looked after each other, at least the best we could.
I grew up sharing my dad with the community. That was my normal, even after we moved to Miami. To a lesser extent I still share him today. Realistically, I also understand that our days are numbered and therefore more precious.
When I think of my Dad, I also think of the other men who are and have been father figures in my life. Uncles, cousins, godfathers and friends who protected me, guided me, advised me and demonstrated what being a father truly means. I am especially in awe of those fathers who stepped up and filled in for men absent due to death or other circumstances.
Today, like many other days, I will probably listen to my dad talk about the accomplishments of many of his former students with immense pride. I will share Facebook messages to him from relatives, his former students and friends. He will smile and talk some more. That is my normal. I am Blessed.
If your father or father figure is still alive today, give him a hug, if you can. If you can't give him a hug, call him on the phone. If he's not here in the natural, gather your family together and remember him in words, deeds and thoughts.
Happy Father's Day!