A Day for Dad, June 21st
By Judi Wiegman
Father’s Day is celebrated in more countries around the world than you may think. And, it is celebrated mainly on the 3rd Sunday in June.
Sonora Smart Dodd from Spokane, Washington is credited with the idea of a special day for dad. While listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, she was moved to tears remembering how she had been raised by her father.
Her father, Henry Jackson Smart, was an officer in the Civil War and was left to raise his six children alone when his wife died during childbirth. He made many parental sacrifices to care for his family. She noted him as a courageous, selfless, loving man. Since he was born in June, it seemed right to hold the first Father’s Day celebration in that month.
Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day in 1924, but it wasn’t until 1972 that President Nixon established it as a permanent, national observance with a proclamation given by the President of the United States.
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages
The power of an eagle in flight,
The joy of morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities When there was noting more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete, and so, he called it …Dad
It was discovered just two months before his birth that little Eliot would be born with Trisomy 18; also called Edwards Syndrome. The fact was he probably would not live to be born. But he was and his parents prayed for a miracle. As the days ticked off, Eliot’s family celebrated each day by adding a balloon. In prayer, they continued to plead boldly for their tiny son but on knees of submission.
Both parents agreed they would not grieve for what might come, but enjoy everyday they had with Eliot. They soaked up every moment from feeding tubes to cuddling.
Trisomy 18 is a rare genetic disease in which the DNA places faulty information to every cell in the body. A child with Trisomy 18 usually dies in the womb, but if they survive usually live a year or less.
This brave young father kept a blog sharing their family life and for 99 days the life of little Eliot. On the 99th day, Eliot died. Matt’s experience has led him to create an organization to aid the families of children born with Trisomy 18. It is called “99 Balloons, Inc.” Matt’s love and devotion to his son stands as monument to Dad’s today.
Matt and Ginny have been the source of help for many couples faced with the diagnosis of Trisomy 18. They have done it with joy in their hearts knowing that they have a gift to share. They remind couples to seek God and not blame hardships on Him.
Sunday, when Matt celebrates Father’s Day, he will remember his precious son, Eliot who introduced him to fatherhood. He will also soak up the joy of Hazel, Eliot’s younger sister, healthy and strong; a precious gift from God.
Happy Father’s Day!