Fathers and Dads Feel the Squeeze as Their Day of Appreciation Marches Forward

John M. Dabbs

My parents at Cracker BarrelVirginia Davis/Photographer

As fathers go, I am blessed to have a good-natured and intelligent dad who likes to learn and laugh. His recollection of shenanigans when he was working entertained the family for years. My sister still begs him to tell the stories. We don't often hug our fathers as much as our mothers, as affection is not open displayed toward fathers as it is our mothers - at least for guys. That being said, the nice squeeze of a hug from your children is a good feeling. Giving one to your dad is equally warm and fuzzy.

Fathers and dads

Fatherhood is bestowed upon lucky men, and most choose to step up and be a real dad. My parents were both involved in PTA, scouting, and other activities we were involved with in our youth. Some of our classmates and fellow scouts weren’t as fortunate. Even some of our own family members weren’t as lucky to have parents who would be as involved with their lives.

Being a father, I know the trials and tribulations of fatherhood and have been involved in the rearing of my children as much as possible. Work had to take a backseat at times, though I am fortunate enough to work at a job where this is possible. Some parents aren’t as lucky. I too have been involved heavily in scouting with my kids, involved in school, and helping them with paperwork and finances involved in their higher education.

Fatherhood is a blessing, being a dad is a choice. It’s hard to be heavily involved with your children as they grow. They need to branch out on their own and need to be able to function without us – no matter how difficult for us this becomes. My mother put it best when she said, “if you do your job as a parent right, they’ll come back to ask for advice, help, and to visit.” I have been fortunate that my children do come and ask my advice at times and visit on occasion.

Perfection wanes

While my father is far from perfect (sorry dad), I appreciate him more as I grow older. He knew everything when I was a small kid, and then he didn't seem as smart as I learned. Now he appears ore wise. I too seek out his guidance and help at times. I am fortunate he is still with us, as he required a heart transplant nearly 30 years ago. He had a massive heart attack when he tried his hand at snow-skiing in the early 1980s. His dad, my grandfather, had high cholesterol. The genes and lifestyle followed suit and he and I both share the same traits. My grandfather lived to be in his early 80s. He too was a family man and adored his children, grandchildren, wife, and a good laugh.

My maternal grandfather didn’t live as long. He developed emphysema and black lung from working in the coal mines of southwest Virginia. I have some memories of him yet was unable to develop a close relationship with him. I do recall him being friendly and enjoying us visiting and going to visit him at the V.A. hospital in his last days – and getting lost when separated from my mother.


A parent’s love is unwavering, as is a child’s love for their parents. They say it's unconditional, but you do have to be there. Father’s Day to me is a mixed blessing. I am reminded of how much my children mean to me all year long – and how much I appreciate my dad too. I don’t spend nearly enough time with any of them these days. They all have their own lives to live, and I too am busy with life. For several of the last few years, I’ve missed sharing Father’s Day with my dad and sons due to travel. Father’s Day happens to come when our schedule finally allows a bit of vacation. Such is life.

Happy Father's Day dads. You are loved and appreciated, though we may not show or say it often enough.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Bristol, TN

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