June 20, 2010

Father's Day Without Father

I've thought a lot about fathers today; my heavenly Father, the father that raised me, the father that raised my mom, my grandfather.  I've also thought about my 22 month old daughter, who does not have a father.  I've typed those last 6 words and erased them 1/2 a dozen times.  There is a certain amount of discomfort in saying that...admitting that.  But, this is maybe the first "bridge we'll have to cross when we come to it" moment since her birth.  I know this will not be the last but this is one I have to think about and pray how to handle it. 

L doesn't have a clue right now.  She's still too young.  But she will know one day soon.  Right now, she is seeing the role of father's on TV.  Some of the Nickjr. shows she watches have fathers.  Some do not.  But she has actually said the word daddy and today she learned the word father when we told "Papa" and "Grandpa" happy father's day.  She said, "favuh".  I couldn't help but wonder when the question would come.  That bridge hasn't presented itself so we won't cross yet.

There are questions that I don't know how I will answer yet, but there are things I'm certain of now.  I'm certain, first and foremost, of my Heavenly Father's love for me and my daughter and His willingness and ability to meet all of our needs.  I'm certain of the influence my own father, grandfather, even my brother, have had on me growing up and as an adult.  It has helped shape who I am, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  That affects how I am raising L.  I'm also certain of the wonderful men, whom God has put in my life, through the years and now, who exemplify what being a father should be.

So in searching my heart for the right answer (to myself for now) I found that I have it for today.  I reflect on my dad, Rick Irons' memory and how a man who walked into my mom's life when I was only 3 years old, loved and adopted my brother and me.  He gave us stability, took us to church, loved my mother, worked hard, nurtured us, made us laugh, and was there.  He went to every softball game, every football game, every choir concert...he sacrificed and made us his life.  He died on  February 21, 1986 from a sudden and massive heart attack.  I was 16 years old.  For a number of years, my brother had to become somewhat of a father to me.  He still is.  At just 17, he worked every day after school until late evening.  He often drove me to school (when I didn't have a car), he gave me money for lunch, and took care of me and my mom.  It still makes me tear up to think of the things he sacrificed during those late teen years.  He's always been there for me and he deserves to be honored. 

I'm grateful for a spiritual legacy that has been passed down from my grandparents.  My wonderful grandpa, whose been a rock for our family and shown kindness and support through my entire life. Now, with my sweet grandma gone, we are being his rock. I honor my step dad today. He is a man of few words but one of the hardest working and upright men I've ever known.  He is a gentle person, a kind person, a provider and giver to his family.  His yes is yes and his no is no. He's an honorable man.

My life is rich with memories and life knowledge that I can attribute to wonderful fathers who have been present for me.  I have no doubt my daughter will experience the same.  She knows her Uncle "Wance" and her Papa Mac. She is sweet and gentle around her frail great grandpa.  She just knows he needs a little extra loving when we visit him.

L started from the moment she was born with wonderful, influential men, in her life, who will be there for her and support her.  Daddy G and Uncle Nene were there that first year, physically, for her.  She will know them and they will be part of that support that I know God will provide for her.

There's a wonderful story about a dad, dying of cancer, and what he did for his twin girls.  Go here to check it out.  It's a testament to the power of supportive "fathers"....men, who can be what your children need, regardless if their blood is the same. 

Happy Father's Day gentlemen....you touch our lives and we need you.



  1. Lana-
    What a touching entry and celebration of fathers.

    I remember Rick very well. I'll never forget two days: 1 when Ricky Deaver, me and Matt Hoggard showed up to practice in the garage and Rick didn't know anything about it. Clearly, it had been a long day and Lance hadn't said squat. He just said, "well, for a little bit" or something like that.

    And 2, more hazy but that time when you and some girl were getting ready for a go and there were about 20 or so people in your front yard and then he came home and... well, everyone just sort of left and he hadn't said too much.. made some comment and walked in, I believe and it was just.... it.

    I'm sure your little one will have legacies that will long endure.

    Kelly Johnson

  2. Lana,

    Beautiful post. You totally made me cry, and you know how hard hearted I am.

    Love you!