Everything I am, I owe to my parents first. They are the foundational blessing in a life that has had an abundance of blessings. My Dad will tell you that the best thing he ever did for me was to choose my dear mother, and I agree. And I would add that he has done a lifetime’s worth of wonderful things for his daughter, as well as for his beloved son-in-law and for the grandsons he cherishes so deeply.
Dad deserves so many tributes that it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s striking how everyone who meets him will tell me, “Your Dad’s the nicest man.” And he is! He radiates and exemplifies an uncomplicated, charitable love and generosity that makes the people who know him just feel good. He’s the kind of father who will, even at age 86, bolt out of bed at 2 in the morning to pick one of us up from the last train in from New York. He’s the incredibly rare person who actually does have to be reminded to take care of himself in the midst of doing so much for everyone else in the family. He’s brilliant and extraordinarily well-read, tackling for his own edification the entire Bible, the Torah, and Plato’s Republic in his ninth decade alone; but he’s never overbearing. He’ll reveal his wisdom and knowledge with a gentle, witty aside, and his counterpart will feel both enlightened and delighted, not intimidated. He’s a valiant man whose many charities both within and outside the family have been pursued without fanfare, and a veteran of World War II, whose modesty is such that only recently did I learn that the same man who joked about not being able to put his rifle back together actually qualified as a Marksman.
One of the most important things a father does is to provide his children with the tools to be resilient. Dad has strengthened and sustained all those he loves so abundantly by providing that love unconditionally. Even when he’s disagreed with one of us, he has never let that difference overshadow the constant sense of comfort and acceptance that is so deeply sustaining for our family. Whatever life may throw at us, his infinitely kind and forgiving arms are always open.
On this Father’s Day, I’m proud to say that I am, and always will be, my Daddy’s girl. May I never miss a chance to tell him how much I love him, today and every day. And may all of us who have the blessing of being a father, or having a father in our lives, take a moment to treasure that special bond.