To all the men I’ve loved

me and dadI sent out four Father’s Day cards this weekend, to four different men, for four different reasons.

The first card went to my dad. Even though we’ve had our differences, had our troubles, the past 15 years or so have been great. We mended broken fences and have become not just dad and daughter, but friends. He’s been a great source of comfort and support, and I think I’ve been able to give that to him too.

I also sent a card to my step-father. Married to my mom for the past 32 years, he has played a significant role in my life. Our relationship wasn’t always easy either. I was barely out of high school when he came into our lives. He had to navigate not just a new relationship, but a ready-made family. He survived the storms of teenage angst and dodge the arrows of “I don’t have to listen to you, you’re not my REAL dad.”

As the years past, our relationship matured as we did. I saw what a good man he was, and that he made my mother very happy. That, in its self would be enough to endear him to me, but that he came to love me as much as his biological children, cinched the deal.

When Mister and I married, my dad walked me down the aisle, and my minister step-dad officiated.

The third card went to my father-in-law, the man who helped shape the man my husband is today. A retired Air Force master sergeant, my father-in-law is a force of nature. He accepted me into their family since the first time my husband brought me around to meet his parents. Not always the easiest man to understand, he is still someone who has had a major impact on my life, and I am better for knowing him.

The last card went to my husband. I don’t believe I could have found a better father, a better man, to help me raise our two children. From day one, he was involved and engaged in their lives.

Mentor, coach, advocate, co-conspirator, he is the “go-to” guy in good times and bad. He is there to offer advice, a strong shoulder, or enable sophomoric shenanigans. (When she was in high school, he supplied our daughter with bulk packages of toilet paper and industrial-size rolls of plastic wrap… I won’t elaborate, so when asked by authorities, you can honestly say you don’t know what those were for.)

He was the fun dad, the smart dad, the “don’t mess with my kid” dad. I can’t wait to see what a phenomenal grandpa he will be.

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful fathers in my life.

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I believe all good fiction includes an element of truth, and all good photography includes an element of fantasy. In this journal I hope to give voice to the stories swirling around in my head, and to capture the images I see through my camera’s lens.

9 thoughts on “To all the men I’ve loved

  1. LOVE the picture of you and your dad! So sweet! Sounds to me like you made a sincere effort to reach below the surface to understand and know the good in the men in your life. You’re lucky to have them, but they are just as lucky to have you in their lives.


  2. I was just telling George (my step dad) this weekend that I loved him so much for loving my mom and for working hard to not bring us to his side, but rather to make a new side for all of us to stand in.

    it’s interesting that as I grow and see all sides of a story I am constantly reminded that love is everywhere , nestled in places you wouldn’t think to look.

    Thank you for sharing all your perspectives and pieces of the dad in your life with us.


  3. Your family’s life is blessed with wonderful men. Happy Father’s Day, Tara. I love your smile in that photo, too, and the fact that you weren’t at all camera shy.

    The pictures below are gorgeous and look wonderfully tranquil.



  4. The part about your husband assisted your daughter’s shenanigans made me smile, huge. I need to work on that one.

    Everything you post is well-written, but this is also deep and full of well-pounded heart. My children will grow up with more than me in their lives from a male perspective. I hope they can write the same thing years from now, despite their old man’s mental issues and dorkiness.

    Happy Father’s Day to your four. And that picture is adorable, I bet that smile got you a lot places you shouldn’t have gone.


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