Growing up my dad was my hero, and I guess that’s as it should be. A dad sets the tone and standard for who his daughter dates, and eventually marries. I know mine did, and in some ways my husband is very much like my dad.

My dad came to Canada from the Netherlands when he was quite young (under the age of ten, I think) and had to learn a new language and culture fairly quickly. He came from a large family and was the second oldest of 7 children and the oldest son. He was pulled from school after grade 8 to go to work and help support the family. From that day on he worked in construction. I always remember him working 6 days a week without fail. He worked hard, and more often than not, came home exhausted.

He gives the best hugs. They wrap around you and hold on tight. All of my girlfriends, without fail, would tell me that they loved my dad’s hugs. For me they were an anchor, a safe haven. I would get a “Hi Poes” (sounds something like poos) and a big hug; I still do. Love it. He did that for me and my sisters growing up and now I see and hear him doing the same thing with my daughters and nieces.

Daddy was usually the last resort when it came to punishment and as such you didn’t want to go there, because you knew that things would not go well with you. I remember, when I was in grade 8, being confined to my room after being caught shoplifting (my first and last time, I might add) with the admonishment of “wait till you father gets home”. Gulp. Now, you know you’re in trouble when the first words out of you mom’s mouth, when he does get home are, “Guess what YOUR daughter did today”. Double Gulp. I waited in trepidation, sure of one thing…this was going to hurt. When he finally made to my room, he sat down on the floor beside me and we talked. I couldn’t believe it! Yes there were consequences, but he didn’t lose his cool. That made a huge impression on me.

That’s not to say the he never lost it. A funny story of Daddy losing his cool took place in our kitchen when we were in elementary school. The school had just had a fundraiser that sold keyfobs that would beep if you made a loud noise so that you could find them. We thought this was fabulous because mom was forever misplacing her keys, so a few were bought. This particular night, we were a bit unruly at the dinner table, and Dad was tired and at a certain point he had had enough. He went on a tear, and Mom trying to diffuse the situation, just made things worse. All four of us kids sat there in silence. He grabbed a huge rolled up blue print and to make his point point brought it down hard on the kitchen counter. You could’ve heard a pin drop. And then….”beep, beep, beep”. Poor Daddy. We ALL started laughing, except him…he left to take a bath and calm down. To this day, the whole situation still makes me giggle.

I love watching my Dad with my Mom. After 46 years of marriage they’re still mad about each other. He sings to her when they dance together. He’d do just about anything for her. He defends her. We learned real quick as teenagers, that you never disrespected Mom in front of Dad. Ever. Not that Mom couldn’t defend herself, cuz she could, but Dad would definitely set things straight if he thought you were out of line. My husband is the same way, and I love that about him.

Dad loves music and, man, can he sing. He has this beautiful tenor voice. He and Mom were part of a choir for many years and over the time they were with the choir sang many classical choral pieces, like Handel’s Messiah. Dad, now, is also part of a mens trio that sings here and there. Mom & Dad also help lead worship in their church.

Most of all though I love his deep, quiet faith in God. He was born & raised in a Christian Reformed church, and he raised his family in one. Every Sunday morning he would fill the inside pocket on his suit with peppermints, and when we were in the service he would methodically dole them out to help keep us quiet during the message. He reads his bible every morning, and has read it through several times. I remember getting up and getting ready for school and there he would be, at the kitchen table, reading his bible, eating his cereal, and then praying. Always. That’s just the way it was and it made me feel like everything is going to be alright. Daddy and God were talking and things were covered.

Meet my dad: He’s one of my everyday heroes.


  1. […] remained constant – his love for God and all He has done. You can read more about my dad here along with a few pictures. He is one of my heroes. Happy Birthday Daddy! Filed Under: Family […]

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