Quick note to all the single parents who have to be both mother and father. It’s a big and dirty job, and thank God you are doing it! Don’t faint. You know that your labor is of the noblest kind.
I have the father of all fathers. He never lets me down. Never. There have been many men in my life (and I mean MANY) who have professed their undying affection. Who went to great lengths to let me know that they want to know me deeply. They want to be my heart and soul and comfort and protection. Their great cry is, “I want to do things for you. You are so amazing and wonderful and beautiful and you’ve sacrificed so much for your family and friends. I want nothing more than to give you all the things you deserve that no one has ever given you!” Oh, and if I say something like, “Yeah right. I’ve heard THAT before!” They get all puffed up and say, “No, really! With me it’s true! I am not like the other men!”
I’m not fucking shittin’ you. As soon as I get sick or something, I get, “Oh, I don’t really feel like going out and getting you some medicine. There’s all that traffic and I just got off work and I’m tired and … blah blah blah blah fucking blah!” In the name of all that is holy, why oh why did you say you’d be my one and only? These are the men who, like my ex husband, said, “No one will ever love you like I do!” To which I say, “God, I hope not! That almost killed me!”
ANYWAY, my father has always been there for me. After the loser won’t go to the store to get my medicine, my father will. After the fucking asshole is too busy to pick me up when my car breaks down, my father will. (And so will my mother and sisters and friends.)
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’ve known many good men. (In fact I’m dating one!) But they are not the ones who make these great oh-me-is-so-wonderful announcements. They are just humble men who say, “Here’s me… I’ll be there when I can… after all, I’m only human.”
So there’s my dad. He’s done all the things a man can do to be a man. And I know that I don’t tell him I love him anywhere near enough. One father’s day, I sent him Dan Fogelberg’s song, Leader of the Band. These are the words that say it so well:
A quiet man of music
Denied a simpler fate
He tried to be a soldier once
But his music wouldn’t wait
He earned his love
A thundering, velvet hand
His gentle means of sculpting souls
Took me years to understand.
The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through
And his song is in my soul --
My life has been a poor attempt
To imitate the man.
I’m just a living legacy
To the leader of the band.
I thank you for the music
And your stories of the road.
I thank you for the freedom
When it came my time to go.
I thank you for the kindness
And the times when you got tough
And, papa, I don’t think I’ve said
I love you near enough –
I love you Daddy.
From Your Sweetheart #3
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