Here’s the Real Story Behind Dear Ol’ Dad

by | Jun 16, 1996 | Comment, Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

Here’s to the fathers, who always begin,
on the outside of children, but looking in

Such curious men snapping cameras like mad
recording the moment they turn into “Dad”

Here’s to the fathers, who put in their time
who don’t say to mothers that’s your job, not mine

Who wipe chins and noses and never say “won’t”
who do with the diapers what some fathers don’t

Here’s to the fathers who manage to stay
when so many fathers are turning away

When so many run, leaving families to rot
here, then, a cheer, for those who do not

Here’s to the fathers whose big money dreams,
die in the corner while their baby screams

And yet without anger, dread or regrets
they comfort the child hold it close to their chests

And as the child grows, they grow with it too,
learning a depth that they never knew

And soon they are older, their hair slightly gone
chasing two children around the front lawn

Or carpooling teams to Little League games
buying them hamburgers, after it rains

They mend broken dolls and fix broken wheels
they cringe when their daughters try their first pair of heels

They reach in their pockets, but never keep count,
they pay dear for parenthood awful amounts

They postpone their plans to sail across seas
instead they sing “Barney” and bandage skinned knees

Here’s to the fathers who miss on promotions
who forego the bonus for birthday commotions

Who come home from work and a boss they don’t like
pull in the drive . . . and run over a bike

Here’s to the fathers who get off the phone,
to hear their sons practice their new saxophone

Who leave work to see their daughter’s recital
Here’s to these heroes who work without title

For this is a world now full of neglect,
with everyday stories of lives that are wrecked

Of fatherless children who take up with guns
to kill other children of fatherless sons

Divorce-shattered families, childhoods derailed,
mothers still waiting for checks still unmailed

You wonder what wrongs these souls ever did
to make a grown man turn away from his kids

So here’s to the fathers, who won’t compromise
who see a light shining in their children’s eyes

And feel a rare glow as if from a gem
and know that once someone saw this glow in them

For all the good boys they have raised in the world
for all the examples they set for their girls

For all the loved children whose stories they’ll tell
Here’s to the fathers, who taught them so well

Happy Father’s Day

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