Sometimes it takes times of emptiness to feel the significance of our family most fully. When we must leave behind a piece of ourselves — those people who comfort us most — we come to appreciate them all the more, highlighting and projecting their best selves in our minds. In celebration of Father’s Day, this Sunday, June 17, I would like to take this space to talk about my dad, Marty Lueck — a man who I’m sure the whole Barefoot Books Team can wholeheartedly agree deserves our thanks!

I was off on a barefoot gap-year journey when I painted this watercolor. I was about to shed the self and home I knew for a little while, and that was so frightening to me. In the moment I hugged my dad good-bye, all of that fear and love collided into an explosive feeling of deep gratitude. Upon leaving my family, I quickly rushed to the camp room to capture it with my traveling watercolor set. With the painting, I could keep him and the profound feeling of security that was bound in that hug with me on my travels. I gave him the painting when I was home for Christmas. While it isn’t a masterpiece, it holds so much raw emotion and has allowed us to remember vividly that hug almost two years later.

So I think that this weekend we should mark that moment of gratitude. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a creative person, emotion shows through any medium; so create a painting, a poem or a song capturing the thing you love most about your dad.

Like many other little girls, I have esteemed my dad as an all-knowing and all-powerful king. Even now, in my mind he is an authority on everything from the Barefoot Books Studio light bulbs and television to my towed Volkswagen … and many other more important things.

I believe it is a right of passage: as we grow up and start to leave the familiarity and comfort of our home and family, we come to see our fathers not only as parents, but also human beings and friends. However, they always remain our childhood kings.

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