"My daddy worked hard, and so have I.....paid our taxes and gave our lives to serve this great country....so what are they complaining about?? We love our families and love our kids...it's love that makes all so rich....that's where we are at."
Lynyrd Skynyrd - RED, WHITE AND BLUE
Today is Father's Day. It is the day when we honor our Dads and all they have done for us.
My Dad worked hard to make sure we had the things he did without as a child who grew up during the depression, the 1940's and World War 2. My Dad served in the Army during the Korean conflict in Alaska keeping the phone lines open between Korea and the US. No combat duty but two years in the cold and isolation of the frozen wilderness. Like the men of his era, he did what was required and did not complain about what he had to do, he just did what was needed. He earned the rewards of his hard work and was able to retire to a small town on Cape Cod, residing there today at the ripe age of 83 years young. His generation were likely the last ones who will get what all should expect after a life's work - security and the ability to enjoy retirement.
My Dad is the man I would some day hope to be - patient, understanding and above all, a good man who made sure he was always there for all of us. I have modeled my fatherhood skills after his and it is still something I strive to do each day - be more like my Dad. He is the "rock" that made all the rest of our lives possible.
Today, Dads face the same issues our Dads dealt with - trying to be the best Dad and providing what is needed. Moms face some of the same issues as our economy has made it necessary for both parents to become wage earners. Dads still bear the larger part of being the wage earners the same way as Moms still deal with the majority of the household chores. It is a bit of a stereotype, but this is the norm for most.
This will be the third Father's Day I have spent in Afghanistan. I have been working contract work over here since 2009 with a few short breaks. One way or the other, I have been here for the Spring and Summer months and that places me away from home on Father's Day. My wife sends along cards and small gifts via care packages and her gesture is deeply appreciated. She has also had to deal with me being away on Mother's Day, so she understands what we both recognize - life is truly different for Fathers and Mothers in this day and age. She works hard keeping the homefront going and I work hard here earning what is needed. It is a Faustian deal that we have been forced to take as the alternative ( failure or loss of our home) is untenable on all levels.
We are not working here to buy shiny new convertibles or to amass a big new home - our goals are much more simple as we look to take care of our humble house and make sure that we can live there for the remainder of our lives....a simple desire to do our best, take care of each other and do the work the good Lord has given us.
Our oldest child will turn 30 this year and we have 3 out of 4 kids out of the house living their own lives. The task of raising them into adults has been completed but as a Dad, my influence and mentoring continues throughout the rest of their lives. I hope that they each make good choices and that the life they choose will be a good one. I can only offer advice and make sure that I am there when they need me, even if it is sometimes via Skype and an email or two.
Today is a work day for me and like many other Dads, I will do what is needed to make sure the homefront gets what is needed. Dads all over the world will spend today enjoying time with their kids celebrating the day at home. Many others in uniform and those like me working here in Afghanistan will be away from home and the celebration of Father's Day. At the same time, what we do shows that we are focusing on what is truly important as Dads....we are forgoing the accolades and day off to ensure the homefront gets the much needed support our work provides. There will be Father's Days in the future where we will be able to spend the day relaxing on the back deck and/or BBQing some tasty food. The work we do today ensures that those future Dad's Days will be there and that we will be able to share that day with our family.
To Dad's everywhere - Happy Father's Day and many more to come !! I salute each of you for your efforts and the efforts of our Dads who gave us their best each and every day.