Being a father has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. My daughter, Madelyn, is a handful, but watching her grow over the past few years has made all the tough days worth it.
I learned how to be a dad from some really great men. They weren’t perfect, but I learned a lot of life lessons from how I was raised.
I wouldn’t be who I am without the influences of my dad and grandpa. They are the reason I joined the military, and why I am proud to carry the Townsend name. Words can never truly express the love and admiration I have for them.
My dad and grandpa showed me how to be strong, compassionate, caring, and supportive. They taught me that being a good father means that you learn from your mistakes and you never give up. I have watched both men struggle through so much, but their strength and willpower was inspiring.
My grandpa is no longer with us, and I miss him greatly. He was a constant presence in my life, and always there to lean on. I have such fond memories of the long summers I would spend in Mississippi, and I could always count on him making it to as many of my sports events as he could. He was a good man with a big heart, and he had a wicked sense of humor. I wish he could have been here longer, but I will always cherish the time we did have.
My dad was always the best father he could be. I didn’t make things easy on him, but he never gave up on me. We grew closer as time went on, and he even brought my sister, Christel, and I together. He taught me that it is never too late to be a good father and to make amends for the past. He also taught me the power of being supportive.
A year and a half ago, my dad had a stroke. He has worked incredibly hard to recover, and his willpower has been inspiring. He could have given up or just been content with being in a wheelchair, but no way that was going to happen for my dad. He keeps fighting every day, and I am so proud of him for never giving up. Being his son is truly something I will always appreciate. I could go on and on about the times that my father and I shared, but the true depth of those moments cannot be explained. He is the type of man I strive to be. He is a hero and an inspiration.
There is one other father I would like to recognize as a big influence on my life. When I played football, I met a coach named Bryan West. Strangely enough, he lived across the alley from me, and he took me under his wing. After the season was over, he didn’t coach me in football again, but he became a father figure for me. My home life during that time was tumultuous, and Bryan and his family let me come and hang out when I needed to get out of the house.
The Wests opened the doors to their home and hearts to me, and I am eternally grateful for that. They taught me that you can love anyone like family and give them the support and they need in a time of difficulty.
So, thank you to the men who helped raise me and teach me what it meant to be a good father. I know there are so many more who I learned from, but I these three men were instrumental to who I am today as a dad. I hope that I can make make you proud, and pass on the things I learned to my kids.
If you are lucky enough to be a father, be one with all of your heart. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be as good as you can be. Being a father is a gift and I’m so lucky to have that in my life. I wasn’t sure I was ready when it came, but I’m glad that I have it now. The words, “I love you daddy,” always melt my heart. Every day with Maddie is Father’s Day.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Make every day with your kids special.