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“Dads are like chocolate chip cookies; they may have chips or be totally nutty, but they are sweet and make the world a better place, especially for their children.”

I am fortunate to have had two remarkable examples of fatherly love in my life. My dad has done and continues to do everything he possibly can for me. My grandfather, despite having been gone almost 20 years, continues to be a source of inspiration and strength. I am proud that the blood of these two men flows through my veins, and I honestly would not be the person I am today without them.

On days like this, I see my friends posting about how theirs is the greatest. I wonder, do we feel our father (mother, etc., depending on the holiday) is the “greatest” simply because he’s ours? Or is it because we are lucky enough to have an involved, loving, generous father who has remained a constant presence in our lives? Certainly there’s no concrete, scientific way to know our father is the greatest of all the fathers, because we only get one. (Or two, in some cases, as the definition of “family” happily is evolving.) Once we grow up, and especially when we become parents ourselves, we recognize the things our parents didn’t do and/or the things we’d do differently. We can acknowledge mistakes they made, and we know they’re not perfect. But yes, I guess we feel that, “Hey he’s MY dad, and he’s the best.” Because he was/is the best dad for you. Because our dads (hopefully) are doing the best they know how.

When I really think about it, when I think back to my childhood, I can only feel grateful to my father. For all the patience used, the time taken, the love given, the money spent, the lessons taught, the miles traveled, the snowmen built. I hope that he feels adequately repaid.

And my pop. The man that fought the Atlantic Ocean and won. His immeasurable strength of will inspires me every single day. I cannot help but feel loss when I think about the time I couldn’t spend with him, as he passed away when I was nine. But what he did give me was a model of an infrangible spirit. Or maybe that spirit itself. And that is truly a gift that keeps on giving.

Sending special virtual love to those who’ve lost their fathers, especially my best friend, whose dad took us to our very first concert 16 years ago and stood guard while 10,000 adolescent girls (including us) lost their minds over the Backstreet Boys.  And that, my friends, is fatherly love.