The Dad's in my Life | Priscilla Baierlein Photography {Daughter&Wife}

My Father's Day story is just like a lot of my family stories...wonderfully different. You see I never met my biological father. I think I know his name. I think he may have tried to visit me once. But I can't say any of those things in certainty. The strange thing is, I'm ok with that. The strangest thing is that I've never had any desire for it to be different. Possibly the strangest thing of all is that I don't feel guilty for that. I am and always have been confident in the fact that I am 100% happy with the way things are. God blessed me with a Dad and other strong, beautiful, loving men in my life. God never had me suffer in this area. He filled in the missing pieces with something even stronger than what I ever would've had other wise. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you already know about the uncle who raised me and was a Daddy figure long before I even lived with him. You know about the special trips we would take to the little country store and the old trucks that smelled of oil. The thing that is so special is that he never had to do these things. There was never the pressure to be a father to me because he wasn't my father. He was my uncle. That was the only role he had to play in my life, but he somehow knew that God had different plans. He was always there. He was the one I looked up to. He's the one that tells me stories about when I was younger. He's the one that volunteered to pick me up from Brownie's when he could. He's the one that put up with my teenage craziness and put the fear in those teenage boys (and college boys). He's the one who did the silly little things that father's are suppose to do to embarrass their daughters. He listened to my hopes and dreams and pushed me to go farther and work harder. He's the one who taught me about hard work and to be proud of it, even if it was cleaning up the plaza where all of my friends would see when they were cruising. He's the one that watched me grow from a little girl in braids, to an awkward teen, to a crazy college student, to a mother. He was the one there rooting me on, believing in me every step of the way. He walked me across the football field on Homecoming night. He sat in the hot bleachers to watch me graduate from high school...and again from college. He was the one fighting back tears as he moved me into my first dorm room and left me there because he knew it was what I needed. He was the one who watched my visits turn from every weekend to every other weekend to every other month to every few months. He's the one who watched me fall in love and get my heart broken and fall in love again. He's the one who always has a funny little word of advice. He's the one who hugs me and says "you too" after I say I love you and sometimes even says it first. He's the one who has often told me how proud he is of me. He's the one who is now Paw to my little man. He's the one who has always hung the moon in my eyes. He's my Dad.

Because of him I did not settle, but I found an amazing man that I knew would be an incredible Dad. Bret has always been meant to be a Dad. During our struggles to become parents, I once told him that if he didn't want to be with me because I couldn't give him a baby, I would understand. He never understood why I would say that, but I knew that him becoming a Father was always more important than me. I'm so glad that he did love me enough to stick with me. God had big plans. Watching Bret with Steff, I know that I was right to feel that way though. This is what he was always meant to do. I cannot think of a better person to teach our son to be a man. He's not only strong and tough and all those things that men are typically suppose to be, but he's soft and thoughtful and kind. He can be heard spouting off old Marine stories one minute and singing Moulin Rouge the next. He knows how to work hard and put everything he has into what he's doing. But he also knows how to slow down and to take in what's around him. He's a lover, but knows how to be a fighter. He won't back down from what he believes in, but he will listen to reason and take in the thoughts and opinions of others. He loves to have a good heated debate, but he will smile and laugh and give you a big hug afterwards. He's a tough Marine, football coach, guys guy, but he's also a soft hearted, loving man, that reads and writes and shares his feelings and emotions. He takes care of those he loves above everything else. He is confident in his own skin and his manhood. He is both scared of and embraces the responsibility of being a Dad. He will teach Steff to wrestle, to spit, to pee standing outside, to play football, to throw a ball, to garden and to read, to love, to treat women with tenderness and respect, to sing and dance like no one else is watching, to slow down and smell the flowers and watch the little enduring things that are all around us. I'm sure they will butt heads a million times during his teenage years, but I know Steff will always turn to him with respect and one day, they will both understand each other and be stronger for their struggles. He amazes me every day. I am so thankful of him and honored to call him my friend and husband.

I am also so thankful to the man who taught him to be a man, my favorite Father-in-law, Read. I see the way two of the most important males in my life look at him. They both see him as a super man. He has a way of making sure we are all taken care of. He is loving and supportive. Steff talks about Grandpa all the time. He loves to play ball with him, feed the dogs, and go for a ride on his lawn mower. He takes the time to walk with Steff all around their property and says "come to Grandpa" when he's upset. I love hearing Bret talk about Read. He says he has always known and been shown just how much he loved him. He remembers their many days of going fishing and the patience his Dad had with him. He taught Bret about honesty and always saying what you mean. He never misses a Veteran's Day or 9/11 to call Bret and tell him how proud he is of his service to this country and the man he has become. He's always there with a hug and an I love you.

Thank you to all the Daddy's in my life. I wouldn't have it any other way. I am so proud of each of you and happy to have you in my life. It brings tears to my eyes thinking of how blessed Steff is to look up to each of you as a guide through life.

Peace and so much love,

Cilla