Hope Wissel

Father’s Day

Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society.  Today’s blog is in honor of the two men who had the greatest influence on my life – my Pop-pop and my Dad.

My Pop-Pop, my mom’s dad, was a typesetter with the Asbury Park Press.  He worked long hours but always had time for his family.  My first memories of him were actually shared by other family members.  See Pop-Pop was the one who taught me to walk with a round hassock and a chocolate chip cookie.  I traveled ALOT with my grandparents when I was younger – seeing the country.  I always managed to come home from a trip with lots of souvenirs and MORE money then I went with.  I always got to keep the change.  The greatest memories were those of when my grandparents drove me to college after every trip home for a visit.  We would pack up the camper loaded with lots of snacks, baked goods (Mom-mom’s applesauce cake for all of my friends) and my stuff then head to Rhode Island.  Typically, I would “study” on the back couch but the next thing I knew I would be awakened by Pop-pop telling the gas station attendant that he was taking his granddaughter to college.  They made friends with the guard at the college who let them park in the lot right on campus.  Pop-pop made friends with EVERYONE.  He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.  His last days were spent surrounded by family at home – as lung cancer took his life.  You are missed but I know that you are one of my many Weston angels.

Life with my dad had its ups and downs.  Growing up were mostly filled with ups – lots of memories of family vacations and holidays.  My junior year, he and my mom, cooked breakfast for the ENTIRE Junior Class of Ocean Twp HS after the junior prom.  There were some hard years mixed in there too as dad battled with alcoholism and all of the demons that came along with it.  My parents divorced, I shut down – angry and hurt – I stopped talking and seeing my dad.  My Pop-Pop told me, on his death bed, it is time to forgive your father.  It took many years after that before I could start to heal and forgive.  When I went to rehab for my drug addiction, my dad came to visit.  This was the first time that we had spoken in YEARS!  I am still not sure how exactly he heard about where I was, but he traveled to Pennsylvania to talk with me.  That is when the healing began.  Mind you the memories are always there and do come to haunt me at times but I have forgiven him so that we can have a relationship.  I love you Dad!

Unfortunately, Belinda, my daughter, was not blessed with a biological dad who was a part of her life.  As I mended my relationship with my dad, Belinda got to also know her grandfather.  Her ideas of what a dad should be came from her best friend’s dad, Bill Loder.  I am grateful that he became her “adopted” dad.  During her teen years, my daughter acquired her step-dad,  Rob.  He will always be there for her and as far as he is concerned, she is the daughter that he never had.

Take a moment today and thank the “fathers” in your life who have made a difference.  Some may be your biological dads, your adopted dads, some may be the dad’s of your friends, some may be another male figure who helped to shape your life – whoever it is,  THANK them for all of the blessings that they have given you – even during the trials for it is all of those things that make you the person you are today.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.  


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