Here’s to dads!

Here’s to the dads who consciously and actively parent. To the ones who protect- and engage with their children, the ones who enjoy and adore their kids, the ones who practice patience, express love, and take pride in the young people they raise- or raised. A good dad is like gold.

And here’s to the men, who are not necessarily dads, who step forward to give some fathering to those whose dads are not present. Including those men who committed one small act to make a difference to a child.

Here’s to Duane, who was my mother’s boyfriend when I was 13. He welcomed me when I came to live with them without any notice. Tutored me in algebra, gave me back rubs, made me feel like I belonged there, and showed me a different model of a man–one who is warm, gentle and caring.

And here’s to Jay, who would hug me, just hug me, swaying megently and humming.¬†And to two men named Pete, each of whom stood up for me and came to my aid when I needed help.

And mostly, here’s to Wally Shaw, who was my supervisor when I was a volunteer at the Lightship Chesapeake. Wally was playful and gregarious. Over the course of years, he sometimes took me to lunch at the greasy spoon across the street, invited me to see “Children of a Lesser God” at the theatre, loaned me his books and told me it was OK to lightly pencil my thoughts in the margins, talked with me about philosophy and life, valued my thoughts and opinions, and treated me like an equal. Here’s to you, Wally.

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