Most are not leaders of nations.
Most are not creators of wealth.
Most are not icons of art.
Their names will not be written in the annals of history.
But without them, we would be nothing.
Their fathers worked with pride as pipe-fitters and welders and electricians.
Their fathers mined coal and dug ditches and toiled with dignity.
They did what was necessary to provide food and shelter and clothes.
They did what was necessary to provide hope for a better tomorrow.
Tomorrow came, and it was better,
and the sons and daughters of the fathers went to school
and became teachers and writers and lawyers and engineers.
They became fathers and mothers themselves
and likewise provided for their families.
They did all of this without the need for attention,
without the need for adulation,
without the need for self-aggrandizement.
Fathers persevere and sacrifice.
They do what needs to be done.
They are good and honorable.
No, not all fathers.
Some give up.
It’s not about gender roles.
Sometimes the mother is the father.
Sometimes she is both.
It’s not about being the breadwinner.
It’s about being strong for the family.
It’s about providing direction to those who wander
and encouragement to those who strive.
Now they rest,
their work less strenuous,
their lives less demanding,
and they sit quietly,
content to let others lead.
They have lived simply.
They have lived nobly.
They have given their all.
They are our fathers.
copyright 2019, joseph e bird