It’s Father’s Day…I’ve Had a Few



It’s father’s day. I’ve had a few. The closest to a real father would have to be my grandfather. He was the constant in my life, as father figures go, and I know he loved me a lot. I adored him.

Me and Granddaddy

Me and Granddaddy


My father-in-law would be the second, in the real father category. He’s been my father the longest, that’s for sure. I like to think he loves me, even though he’s reached a very cranky stage, at 95 years old, and seems to be crankiest with the women in his life. He’s never let go of his resentment for his own mother. It’s a shame.

dave and dad at inlet


I’ll give you a quick run-down on the list I call, Daddy du Jour…

I don’t recall a memory of my birth father until I was ten or eleven years old. He came and went a few times, and ultimately I chose to release him of any connection when I gave up on his ability to care about anyone as much as he loves himself. He and my mother really were the perfect couple.

The first step-father is a flash in my memory. He was around for about two years, but most of that time I lived with my grandparents. He waited until after the wedding to tell my mother, “The kid goes, or I go.” She, of course chose him.

The second step-father was around for over eight years. Second longest record! He fathered my first sibling, who became more of a son to me. He was a nice guy, and that was probably his downfall. She liked the mean ones more than the nice ones.

Third guy was a real piece of work! Total psycho. But, again, she kept going back for more.

The fourth one was the BEST step-father ever. We remained close long after their marriage ended. We were visiting him just days before he passed away…much too soon.

There was a fifth, but I only met him briefly. Couldn’t tell you anything about him except, he didn’t last very long.

With all that marital history in my life, it still amazes me that I’ve been married to the same man for forty-five years. We’ve had our ups and downs, as any couple has. Especially anyone who’s endured the majority of their lives together. But his best trait might very well be… he’s a really great dad.


Greg, Dave and Jeff

Greg, Dave and Jeff


His example has made our two sons great dads, too. I marvel at what wonderful parents they are to their own sons. It’s a pleasure to watch.

So, here’s to the dads who open their hearts and minds to parenting. It’s an awesome responsibility, and takes a great man to share their love, vulnerability, and wisdom with their children.

Have any memories of a special dad in your life you’d like to share? Go right ahead!




  1. KCLAnderson (Karen)

    Great post…I love the way you’re able to write about your past with equal parts acceptance and truth, if that makes any sense at all 🙂

    I’ve written a lot about my Dad. I also had/have a stepfather (he married my mother when I was five and they divorced when I was in college). He remarried and I am very close to his wife, but not so much him.

    My mother has been married to her third husband since 1998 and I honestly have nothing nice to say about him.

    So my stepfather and I haven’t ever really been close…he certainly had his demons, not to mention alcoholism (mean and violent when he drank) and perhaps even bipolar disorder. But when he wasn’t drinking? He was a wonderful person. Over the years there have been times when I’ve sent him a Father’s Day card and other years when I haven’t.

    This year I decided to send him a note…I wrote about how Tim and I had recently taken a walk to Harkness Memorial Park (where we got married) and that reminded me of when my Dad and my Stepdad walked me down the “aisle” (but it was more like they were hanging on for dear life as I quickly strode towards Tim). 🙂

    And while we were there, I saw a young father teaching his daughter to ride a bicycle. That reminded me of the time my stepfather did the same, without training wheels. He told me he’d hold on to the rear fender while I pedaled. I yelled, “don’t let go!!” and he said “I won’t!” Turns out, he wasn’t holding on because he didn’t need to. And so I wrote about that too, and said that both were good examples of a father encouraging his daughter to GO!

    I haven’t heard back from him, but his wife wrote and told me that he got choked up.

    • Barbara

      Great story, Karen. It can be very complicated, I know. My mother would never have allowed any of her exes in the same room with another, so kudos to you and your mom for having your dad and your step-dad walk you down the aisle! The thought of what a scene that might have been, in my world, gives me chills!

      As far as writing about the past with equal parts acceptance and truth…that took time. And, when I was able to tell my mother I forgave her, but I couldn’t have her in my life, it made it easier to accept and move on. Not to mention, she was the queen of letting go. When she was done with someone she forbade any of her family to associate with them. Not that that stopped us, but it had to be hush hush.
      Living an uncomplicated life is so much easier than all that baggage!

  2. Eileen Hopkins

    good post. my dad was distant most of the time ‘ a true introvert. it wasn’t until after he died that I realized how he showed his love! he teased; he quietly supported; he asked only for honesty and respect and I have always felt he never knew how much he meant to me. lesson learned! I hope my kids always know I love them!

    • Barbara

      Great lesson to learn, isn’t it? I always wanted my kids to know they were loved, too. Thanks for sharing, Eileen.

  3. Tom Sightings

    Wow, what a history. I have a much different one. My two grandfathers were both dead by the time I was born. My first wife’s father was dead by the time I met her. B’s father was long gone before I met her (although her mother is alive). It’s dangerous to be a man in this society! My own father was around for me, but he was pretty remote, esp. to his grandchildren since he moved to Fla. when they were age 1 and 3. I guess I just hope I live long enough to be a grandfather!

    • Barbara

      I hope you do too, Tom! Grandchildren are fun. You spend fun time together and get to give them back!

  4. Bob Lowry

    What an amazing story. What is even more fascinating is how you have lived your life so differently from your mom. That speaks volumes about the resiliency of the human spirit and our ability to learn from our environment.

    My parents were married for 63 years. I don’t expect to live long enough to equal that record but their example inspires me every day. Next week Betty and I will celebrate 38 years…and I wouldn’t change a second of it.

    BTW, I spent Father’s Day at an urgent care facility in Flagstaff. We thought Betty had a kidney stone, but it turned out to be a torn muscle. Painful but it could have been much worse.

    • Barbara

      Sometimes a bad example can be the best example. I vowed to myself never to be like her, in any way. She’s bi-polar, which I didn’t know until a few years ago.

      Can’t imagine being married 63 years, but I suppose it’s possible! Congrats on your anniversary, and I’m very glad Betty’s ok!

  5. My Inner Chick

    beautiful, hopeful post, Barbara.
    I love all the photos… all those handsome dudes!
    45 YEARS! FABULOUS! Amazing
    How old were you? 12? xxxxxxx

    • Barbara

      Thanks Kim. I was barely 18, and the odds of it lasting were minuscule, so I guess we’re doing something right!

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