To my second father, Walter Robinson, Jr., who made me fear every time a man raised his arm near me, who made me unsure of myself, who made me believe that more men were like him than anyone else. It has taken me nearly a half of a century to truly forgive you for what you did to me, but I am also grateful.
To my father, William Seeger, whose face I see very morning in my mirror. I am so lucky that you gave me my grandfather's voice. It has taken me through doors, placed me in the wings of stages, put me in spotlights, and let me say things that simply words weren't big enough for.
To my uncle, Bruce Bailey, who at 15 was already struggling with how to be an extraordinary man, setting an example for who I should choose to be with as an adult, who taught me hard riddles, told me glorious stories,and tried so hard to do what was right even when he wasn't positive what that might be. He was the pattern cut that I measured all men against as I grew older - and luckily I found someone so very like him.
To the father who helped raise the man who became my husband, Philip Van Gelder, whose teachings of how to live are still the standard his children are guided by, who continues to fill gaps and holes in my life, who shows up to change my taillight in the dark because he wants me safe, who danced with me, on my wedding day, standing in for all the fathers who could not be present, representing himself as my welcoming committee to my new family. He has the corniest jokes, and the best laugh. And even when he struggled through dark times, and we all watched and worried for him, he came the other side, showing us all what strong stock we all are, and how resilient we can be.
To all these men, I say thank you. Each one of you has shaped me. Every day, I try to be better than I was the day before, to make you proud, to make it worth the influence, time, and love I was granted from each of you.
Happy Father's Day.
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