One of my favorite singers from the seventies is Dan Fogelberg. My favorite song he sang is “Leader of the Band”. I would love to say this song brings back fond memories of my own father, but I can’t. I didn’t know my real father and my stepfather was not someone I looked up to. I did have an incredible mom though, and she is the one I think of when I hear this song. My mother is my “Leader of the Band” and I am, as the song says, her “Living Legacy”.
I lost my mom about seven years ago and this song has become more meaningful for me each passing year as I strive to live my life as an honor to her legacy. My mom worked hard to instill in me the importance of self acceptance. I never had to be any more or any less than exactly who I was for her and her love for me was never anything short of unconditional. I never really appreciated the enormity of the gift that was in my life as I struggled through the all of the stages of development and self awareness. She so freely loved and accepted me in my entirety even through the awkward and, frankly, terrible phases of my growing up years and I never felt like I had to prove anything to her and in turn, to anyone else. I wish I could have the opportunity to tell her what a blessing her love was to me, what a beautiful example her life was.
My mom lived a life filled with a great deal of pain, heartache and tragedy. I never appreciated the depth of the suffering she endured when I was younger, because she handled everything with such grace and humility. Even in the really tough times, she always had a light about her that was such a testament to her strength and endurance. When I look back now at her life, it breaks my heart but it also gives me courage. My mom was one of the most gentle and humble spirits I have ever known and she loved so big. The trials she faced in her life were always met with enduring determination and quiet self- sacrifice. She was a survivor for sure, but more than that, she thrived and continued to touch the lives of everyone around her.
Every year when Father’s Day rolls around, I always find myself mourning the Father- Daughter relationship that was denied me. It is hard for a kid to grow up without a dad. Through the sadness though, I am so thankful for a mother who taught me to love myself and thrive in the absence of a father figure in my life. She faced life head-on and with a steely determination; she became everything I ever needed. More than anything though, my mom made sure that I always knew that I was NOT a fatherless child, I was the daughter of a King. The example of my mom’s life showed me the spirit of a loving God, a Father in the truest sense of the word who loves me unconditionally and has big plans for my life, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
There are so many children out there who do not have Father’s to celebrate on Father’s Day. As a girl, the absence of a “daddy” leaves a void that no one else can truly fill. Sometimes life can seem unfair and it is easy to feel cheated, but we have a Father in heaven that loves us more than we could ever imagine and wants everything good for us. If you grew up without a father figure in your life, I humbly pray that you will know that you are NOT a fatherless child; you are a princess, the daughter of a THE KING. That is cause for great celebration for all of us on Father’s Day!
I am so thankful for the mom that God blessed me with. She gave so much and asked for so little in return. As I strive to honor her life and legacy through the actions and decisions of my own life, I pray that the light of my Heavenly Father shines through me as it did through her in such an unmistakable way.
Thank you Mom for supporting me in everything, encouraging and complimenting me just when I need it and for loving me, even in all of my stupidity. Thank you for showing me that I am beautiful just as I was created to be and that there is a plan and a purpose for my life that is precious and important.
“My life has been a poor attempt to imitate (my mom). I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band.”