The Real Dad

Here’s the real story behind dear ol’ Dad

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
Here’s to the fathers, who put
in their time, who don’t say to
mother’s 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 comer 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 saxaphone
Who leave work to see
their daughter’s recital
Here’s to the 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 wo 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 father’s that
taught them so well.
Happy Father’s Day!

Mitch Albom Sunday, June 16, 1996 The Detroit News