Big days are hard in our family, and Father’s Day is the worst. Seriously the worst. Of all the big days we have to endure without him, this is the day I hate the most. My kids began life without fathers. For whatever reasons, they were abandoned by their birth families and went years without knowing the love of a real father. Then one by one they joined out family. Paul said, “Yes!” enthusiastically to each and every one of them. And then he was gone. A couple of years ago, I gave up the idea of being both mother and father to my children. I can’t replace their dad, their “Baba.” I can’t be him. He was amazing. He was fun. His big lap (he was 6’2″ to my not quite 5’2″) was the one every one wanted to sit in for stories. He was the storyteller. I remember my kids would say, “Baba, tell us a story,” and he would start “Once upon a time there was a boy who …” and every two sentences one of the kids would interrupt to tell him how the story needed to go. So a boy who was setting out to explore became “Hot Lava Changing Boy” who saved the world from the “Red dragon of Enderling.” His was the lap that comforted kids before and after surgeries. His were the arms that held scared children whether it was on the day we first became a family, or the first day of Kindergarten. He was a cake decorator extraordinaire and could create whatever scene the kids asked him to create. He shared his love of cycling with them, and bestowed on them a love for books. He loved books. Most of all, he loved being their dad. My kids are starting to lose their memories of him, especially the sound of his voice, and I have very little evidence to provide to them because he was the one behind the camera most of the time.
It is clichè to say “they have a Heavenly Father” because though we trust in God, have faith in God, there is really nothing that can replace the very important person that is our earthly father. Paul was not their biological father, but he was their real dad.
We love you forever and always Paul, to the moon and back!