In honor of Father’s Day, we asked members of the community to share why they are proud of the father figures in their lives.
Growing up, I never looked forward to Father’s Day. It’s not that I dreaded it; it was just another day with another homemade card or useless gift that would be stored away in the master bedroom closet, never to be seen again. I’ve always been told that he loved me the best way he knew how. But as a kid, not understanding all of the complexities, that was somehow never enough. At 16, after a nasty divorce, there was a new reminder that my family dynamic had never been normal, and I was lacking something.
I never thought I would know the love of a father until my mom met Scott. I remember telling her that he looked like Santa Claus – his hair white and his eyes smiling. I was skeptical and a rebellious, angry kid who needed someone to love every flaw and gift I had. He was patient, and he knew it would take me some time to trust him. But he chose, and still chooses every day, to love my sister and I like his own. He chooses to love our own children and teach them the good stuff, like the messiest way to eat a fudge pop or how to rake a pile of leaves to jump into. With every card he signs, “Love, Dad.” I know that he will continue to choose us. “It’s a love without end, amen.”
My father is a man of routine. I know when I come home that his lawn has been mowed and the seats around his fire pit are surrounded by well-groomed trees in the middle of his sanctuaried garden. He’s carved out a little piece of heaven for himself on a busy street. The older I grow the more impressed I am with that kind of consistency – the kind of steadiness that allowed three girls to commit to their education, become women of substance and still come home to feel like children in their own backyard.
Fred Kline, the man I’m fortunate enough to call my father, was a full time truck driver for 32 years. He would work around 70 hours a week, always at night, leaving around 8 p.m. and returning the next day around 10 a.m. Between working and maintaining the house I grew up in, he would often only sleep around four or five hours a day before going back and doing it all again. However, he never complained and he genuinely enjoyed his job. He was consistently warm and rarely grumpy despite how little sleep he got.
Fred retired in October 2017 and has taken on a new role as homemaker since my mom still works full time. He cooks three meals a day, does the laundry and takes care of their two dogs.
He goes above and beyond for his friends and neighbors – often shoveling sidewalks, chopping down trees or doing other major tasks for those who need a hand. Though he just turned 65 last week, you would never know it based on his energy level (especially since he can run faster than me or my brother ever could).
I’m incredibly proud to be Fred’s daughter. He sacrificed so much so that my family could have a comfortable life, but what I’m most proud of is the example he set for how to treat others. He’s always been kind and generous to everyone he meets, and now that he’s retired, he has even more time to spread that kindness and generosity.
My stepfather always referred to me as his daughter and has treated me as his own. He welcomed me to live with him and my mom when I faced hard times and has never hesitated to help me financially, emotionally and beyond. He’s been a gift from God for my family. We couldn’t imagine our lives without Blake Brittain!
My veteran father has been married for 33 years and raised six children. I cannot think of a single time he raised his voice at us. He exercises patience and compassion in all of his relationships, and it is impossible not to feel comfortable around him. He worked long hours to provide for our family growing up, but even after retirement, he continues to dedicate all of his time to helping and caring for others. He’s a brilliant, kind-hearted and hilarious man, and the older I get the more I appreciate how his personality has shaped my own. I love you, Dad!