Today  on Father’s Day, I want to take a moment to honor two remarkable men in my life:

First, my dad; the hardest working man in the world.

A man who gave up the only life he’d ever known in Poland in order to take a risk as a political refugee in America, so  his kids could live in the land of opportunities. He’s never owned a brand new car, but every summer, my little sister and I would be given the gift of traveling to new states and new countries, our family adventures filled with more love and joy than money could buy.

Rather than investing in material possessions, my dad invested in memories, and I know my sister Aggie agrees with me when I say that we have the best childhood memories around.

My dad has never been afraid of being uncomfortable, pushing through fear, illness, and the odds against him because he knew his children and wife were counting on him.

His work ethic is both something I admire and am in awe of, and he continues to inspire me to keep pushing forward even when I all want to do is give up.

He’s a big reason I’m going back to school in the fall, and why I’m determined to push through the many obstacles in my way to finish what I’ve started out to do.

My dad is blunt with his words, sarcastic with his humor, and loyal with his heart.

My dad is my hero.

The second incredible man in my life is my husband, Michael. When we welcomed our firstborn Andrew into this world, Michael was 22 years old, and had no way of knowing he would be raising a special needs child, had no way of anticipating the many challenges that would test him and force him face life head on.

Yet from the very beginning he took on this vital role of fatherhood with grace and unconditional love. He held me up when I couldn’t stand on my own, and told me that as long as we stuck together, nothing else mattered.

When I was neck deep  in my alcoholism, my husband loved our boys enough to say he would leave me if I didn’t stop the madness, telling me he believed in me but that his sons’ safety and emotional well-being trumped everything else.

I still love the every living shit out of him for that.

For the past 11 years I’ve had the honor of watching Michael treat our two boys as the priceless gifts they are. He is a kind, gentle, loving, intelligent  man who is not afraid to love our family openly and fiercely.
My husband is my hero.

I have much to be grateful for today. These men have and continue to help shape me into a better woman, and my sons are so lucky to have both of them in their lives, nurturing them and guiding them through life.

Enjoying a well-deserved beer together.
I love nothing more than watching him be a father.
Sometimes he has to say the tough stuff to me. But that just means he loves me enough to do it.

Happy Father’s Day Marek Bartlomowicz and Michael Ashline.

I couldn’t be more proud to call you both my own.

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