Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads who are apart of their children lives and to all the men who are standing in the gap for an absent dad!!!I’m always saddened when I go to the store during this holiday because the lay out of gifts and the sentiment its nothing like Mother’s Day. I know moms are great however dads are also and just as important. Without dads we wouldn’t exist and I feel that they are essential in raising healthy sons and daughters. I think dads need to be celebrated more and know that they are needed just as much as moms. I know some men who are Father’s may not have an biological attachment to the child/children that they are raising however it speaks volume that even still you stepped up where you were needed. I have always hated the word stepfather or step anything. I hope another word is created because as my mom says there is no step, if anything they stepped up.lol Today is a very emotional day for me because the man I called father since age 3 is no longer here. He died last June, which next Thursday makes a year. He suddenly got sick and died shortly after. Joe wasn’t my biological father and many people didn’t know it until now, Joe never made me feel any less and he always called me his daughter. He was the only grandfather my children knew and he was very active in their lives. Joe’s family also accepted me and my children, when I got married Joe gave me away, he was there at my graduation and my proms, the birth of my children, and through it all he was there. It was funny how we even resembled each other. I will always be forever grateful to Joe for stepping up in my life and raising me as his daughter when my biological dad didn’t. Joe never had any biological children of his own, and today a piece of me feels gone. Months ago I got the news that my biological dad had been stricken with cancer and there was nothing else they could do. I’ve been visiting him off and on, praying a lot about our relationship and for him, and connecting with the two brothers I have on that side; I’m my mother’s only child. It’s very different I literally have one good memory of me with my biological dad, after that the memories are blank, and the rest are ones I don’t like to think about. I’m grateful to that side of my family, my cousins/relatives who have always made me feel welcomed, and I have good relationships with some of them. I grew up around that side of the family, my mom made sure of that. My biological dad would even refer to Joe as my father. I respected him for that. Although I had Joe, I know my life would have been different if my biological father was in it. I’ve always felt a sense of rejection, I had voids, and many times I looked to men to fill them. Trust me a girl needs her dad, he needs to be the first man to tell her she’s beautiful, loved, smart, and important. I think our dads, who they are, and the relationship we have with them determine the men we choose. I’m glad that because of my faith and spirituality, I’m able to pray and visit with my biological dad. I plan to visit with him today and yes its bittersweet wishing things could have been different but they weren’t. All I can do is accept it, and take the moments I have now. He’s very sick and I don’t know how much time God allows him or me for that matter. I just pray that each time I see him God places love and forgiveness in my heart towards him. I’m glad I got a chance to tell him that I love him and that I forgive him. Therefore, I encourage you today that if you are an absent father to become a present father before its too late. Children need their fathers!!! I have three beautiful children and the thing that hurts me the most is that I didn’t choose better men. I realize the hurt and the pain that my daughter’s feel because there fathers aren’t there, I see it in there eyes, and I feel it when we talk about it. We as women and men need to make better choices, we should be asking ourselves will they make a great father or mother even if our relationship end. And even deeper will they make a great spouse. I’m thankful today that after a divorce and an unhealthy marriage, my ex husband is spending time with our son and being a father. Nothing is perfect but I do believe if we as women make a men feel important and needed in their child/children lives you will see a difference. Kids don’t size them up like we do, they love their dads unconditionally and just want to be in their presence. I’m refreshed by men like the one I date, it brings joy to my heart to see him with his girls. He cooks with them, plays with them, cuddles with them, teaches them, and when needed he disciplines them with love. This weekend he’s been watching home videos with his daughters of when his oldest was a baby. When I watch the videos a part of me wish my daughters and I had those memories with our dads. I know today is hard for a lot of people because your dad is no longer here, you may a widow thinking of your husband who was a great father/maybe you all didn’t get an opportunity to have children, and I’m thinking of fathers who have loss a child/children. My prayers and thoughts are with you all today, I truly empathize with you! A father is so much more than a birth right or blood. You have men out here who have adopted children, they may be a foster parent, uncle, cousin, grandfather, friend or coach, and many don’t have biological children of their own but you have stepped up in a child’s life and made a difference. I salute you today! And to the awesome grandfathers like mine, I appreciate you because you are the cornerstone, the foundation of our families. I say thank you to all the wonderful fathers, you are appreciated, and you are needed. May you all be celebrated today and always!!!