I was watching.

You didn’t know it. I didn’t always tell you. In fact, I sometimes complained to you. I often resisted you. There were times I hid my feelings … but I was watching you.

I saw you you get up early every morning to go to work. I noticed that you stayed up late, that you waited to finish your job, return your emails and watch your show because you wanted to spend time us, color with me, throw the football with my brother and wrestle us on the floor.

I saw you exhausted at the end of the day. I saw the stress in your eyes. Looking back, I know you gave up more than we realized.

You gave up half of your cheeseburger, new shoes and a good night of sleep. You spent your leisure time fishing with us at the pond, sitting through basketball games and throwing us up in the pool.

You wanted us to feel loved more than you wanted to feel comfortable.

I saw you love mom. I saw you load the dishwasher, let her rest and put her needs first. I saw you rub her back, pick up her favorite drink and warm the car so she wouldn’t be cold in the winter.

I was watching.

You weren’t perfect. There were moments you lost your cool. Yes, I saw it. But I also saw you apologize. I saw you own it and make it right.

I saw you forgive.

I saw you show humility.

I saw you reach out to the lonely, sharing your resources and time without expecting any return.

I was watching and I saw Jesus in you.

I watched as you opened your Bible. I was listening as you prayed before meals and every night before bed. I watched you worship in church and with your life.

I watched as you struggled, but pressed through. I saw you persevere through hard times — when money was tight, when we made bad choices and didn’t listen to your advice. You demonstrated gritty grace and tough love.

Your faith in God held you and gave you strength to hold us.

You gave us courage, even when you were afraid. You provided a safe space to rest.

You were always there. I could count on you. You always showed up, through thick and through thin. You didn’t miss any of our activities when you could be present.

I saw it. I was watching.

You taught me to lead by serving, receive by giving, love by dying and to embrace uncertainty with an irrational faith.

You taught me that when all is dark, to be the light.

A Father’s love is powerfully important. It leaves more impact and has more influence than he will ever realize.

His life may seem simple. He may think the moments of sacrifice and service go unnoticed, but they leave a legacy that will echo far into eternity. Even when he’s gone.

Every moment mattered.

I was watching.

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