I'm blessed to have a really great father in my life - a father who has always been there for my sister and I - from every dentist appointment, to every dance recital and school play. My father coached my Greek girls soccer league, and we were awful. It must have pained him to see us play so bad, but he was still supportive, always reminding us we could gossip after the game was over. He stayed up late at night helping me with my homework to the point I'd have stories memorized for Saturday morning Greek school. My father has also been there for me through every car accident I got myself into, including a pretty massive one on the first day I got my license.
No matter how many times he received the call from his teenage daughter saying: "Daddy? I hit another car!" he was never mad or upset; the first question he always asked was: "Are you okay?" Even after this, I received an Audi as my 18th birthday present. Despite the fact that my car insurance rates went through the roof resulting in a new head of white hair on his head, he didn't really complain all that much about me.
Time and time again he would sit me down, though, and have 'the talk' with me about not shopping so much. Of course, when I lived at home, my credit card bills had no where else to go. Talking to me about sticking to a budget and not buying so many clothes fell on deaf ears. Still, as my father, he loved me.
Now, he's also a great grandfather to my boys, Christos and Dimitry. Always playing with them, always taking them to the park, for ice cream, out for dinner, and swimming with them in the ocean on vacation. He recently built my boys a treehouse in his backyard, and he's never missed one of my son's soccer games. Of course, he also babysits with my mom and sees us several times a week, without fail.
(My dad with Christos a few years ago, along with my mom and sister.)
(My dad and baby Dimitry.)
My husband's father is also a wonderful man, and my kids adore him so much. Not only for the amazing Greek meals he prepares with love everyday for them, but for the stories he tells them and for the laughs they share.
(My boys and their grandfather, my husband's father.)
My boys, blessed with two 'papou's' that live 10 minutes away from us, are also blessed with having my grandfather here as well. My little Dimitry is especially close to my grandfather - his great-grandfather - they are like two peas in a pod! My grandfather is happiest in Greece, going back 'home' for several months a year. Since the birth of my children, though, living in Canada has been more tolerable for him.
(My grandfather with his youngest great-grandson, Dimitry, and my grandmother.)
My children's daddy, my husband, gets special recognition on this day, Father's Day.
He is a terrific dad. The best father. I could not begin to imagine life without him, because he has blessed me with the two most wonderful children I could have ever imagined. He's the father who changed both our children's very first diapers, the father who always cleans up the vomit (as I'm always a deer stuck in headlights when our kids throw up!) the father who will get me a bottle of warm milk on demand no matter what time I request it, and the father who always plays, plays, plays with our children more than I've seen another man play! At the park, kids swarm to him like he's handing out ice cream - he's young at heart, has an infectious laugh, and makes children happy. He's also a great cook so we are never hungry and he puts up with me everyday, too!
Christos is especially close to his daddy. They share a special bond, and are part of the 'boys only club' along with Dimitry, leaving me the solo one out. Christos, being the thinker that he is, wants to learn something new everyday. Right now, he's learning the periodic table of elements, and at not even five years old, has at last half of them memorized. (He actually likes this stuff!) He'll sit down beside his daddy and they'll talk for hours on end about different rocks, the history of the world, and how things are made. They also get down and dirty, acting like... well, acting like boys! They've not yet reached the playing video games together phase, but I'm sure that day will come soon - and I'm sure my husband will be very happy when it happens, since he's a Nintendo champion!
When the going gets tough, my husband always step up to the plate. When my son was hospitalized a few times, and I couldn't bear to watch certain procedures being done, he was the strong one, the one who had to deal with the seeing our child go through things we'd never imagine we'd have to see as parents.
And now, without having a choice in the matter, the torch has been passed over to him - he has taken over receiving my credit card bills, as they now arrive to our house, and not to my parents house anymore, to the great relief of my father.
To the father of my children - thank you for everything you do for us; thank you for making our boys so happy, thank you for taking care of the bills, and thank you for not totally losing it when I come home with yet another bag from Banana Republic! (Although I have mastered the hide-the-bags-in-the-car-or-hallway-closet until it's safe to proceed upstairs! Guess my secret is out now...)
Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful men in my famiy!