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Family

How fathers are real-life heroes

Posted June 18
Updated June 19

The Rasmusen family gathers in St. George with Carmen Rasmusen Herbert's mom and dad. (Deseret Photo)

A few months ago, my son Boston found a bag from a cute boutique called Over the Moon.

“Can I take this?” he asked about the bag with the store's name on it.

Puzzled, I nodded, and he ran downstairs with the bag. A little while later, he showed me what he had written on the front:

“Dear Dad, I love you (arrow) ‘Over the Moon’ — and back!”

He was so excited to give Brad his Father’s Day gift and had saved it all this time.

In years past, we have given Brad and the grandpas cards about them being superheroes, great golfers and barbecue masters. We’ve praised their dad-ness by expressing thanks about them being hardworking and great leaders.

But this Father’s Day, I want to express my gratitude for the fathers in my life for simply being there.

Growing up, my dad worked hard. He is a psychiatrist and was often on call. He rarely took time off for vacations, and worked many weekends. But he was almost always home for family dinner. I loved waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs and jumping up into his arms as soon as he walked through the door. I used to sit on his feet, which sported nice but worn-out socks with a cracked heel usually poking through the bottom, and ride around our slippery wood floor. He would lead our family in a dinner prayer and always made it a point to compliment my mom on her home-cooked meal.

It’s funny how it’s the little things that stick out to me years later: him turning on News Radio in the mornings as he drove me to school, him loudly cracking up at a joke from a TV show, him choosing to floss his teeth or blow his nose at the most awkward times, the sound of his “click-y toe” popping as he walked upstairs in the middle of the night to check on us, and him waking us up to ask us if we were asleep.

My dad still has a way of making everyone feel like they are taken care of. He is generous to a fault and always ready to give advice or predict the end of a movie. It’s funny how even now I revert to my inner child when I’m around him, asking him to drive me places and help me with things we both know I can do for myself.

Nowadays, I wait by the door for my husband, Brad, and all but throw myself into his arms as soon as he comes home. I watch our boys sit on his feet, and smile as he walks them around our slippery wood floor. I wonder if they know how lucky they are to have a dad that takes time after a full day of work to build Lego cities or wrestle with them on the beanbag. Finding a man like my own dad was paramount for me when I was dating, and even though my husband and my father are very different in many ways, they are similar in their love and loyalty to their family.

This Father’s Day, I want to say “thank you” to fathers, fathers-in-law and father figures who are making the time to just be there. They are real-life heroes.

We love you “Over the Moon” — and back.

Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News.

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