I was baptized on Father’s Day. In fact, both of my younger sisters were baptized on Father’s Day as well. I don’t really know if it was a tradition in my extended family—it certainly was in my family.

I often think about how that claimed me—for my relationship with God and with my own Dad. I would forever be his daughter. Even after my father’s death, I’m still his, aren’t I?

Yet, because my dad has been gone for nearly 10 years, I wonder what Father’s Day means now? How am I connected to the man who raised me, tickled me, supported and encouraged me? What are the enduring gifts of our relationship?

My father had a generous sense of humor. He loved to tell a good joke, have a witty response or pull an ingenious prank. He reveled in friendships with people from his college days—especially those he knew through his fraternity. He was what people might have called “neighborly”—always willing to lend a hand and ever ready to cook up some fun while he was at it. Like my father, I love to laugh. I cherish friendships I’ve built across the years. I hope that I am as generous as he was when it comes to lending a hand or providing support.

Dad lived a creative life working in the family construction business. He often took my sisters and me to job sites—although I suspect this was really a way to give my mom a reprieve from the busy schedule of taking care of us. (And admittedly, this was not our favorite thing to do with dad because how interesting is a building under construction to a kid?)

Dad knew how to build things though—and he or his father often built things for us. When I was showing dogs in 4H, Dad built my practice jumps—complete with removable panels so I could adjust the height for my German Shepherd or my sister’s Cocker Spaniel. My grandfather made dumbbells for our dogs to retrieve—they were so popular that he made them for other kids too. From my father I learned that building things requires patience and persistence. I have constructed quilts and built my own business.

Like my grandfather, my dad had an expansive vegetable garden. I don’t know how he felt about his garden but I do remember the relish with which he ate freshly picked sweet corn, tomatoes or green onions. I recall the tender attention he provided to peach trees that grew along our driveway—and finding him peeling a juicy peach over his breakfast cereal before work. Planting my own garden I use practices he taught me for putting things in neat rows. I too relish something freshly picked on my dinner table.

I gained a love of music from my dad—he took us to New Orleans so we could visit Preservation Hall and hear historic jazz. There were trips to southern Indiana to participate in the Bill Monroe Blue Grass festival—leading Dad to purchase his own upright bass. His love of music became mine as I learned to play the banjo in college.

So what did I learn from my dad? Life was an adventure to him. He had many interests over his lifetime and wasn’t afraid to try new things. It turns out his work ethic; creativity and thirst for learning have been good tools for living. Even though he might not understand his work as creative or appreciate the creativity in my own; they share common threads.

Without my dad around to celebrate on Father’s Day, I can choose a celebration of another kind. I can consider these and other qualities I value and share with my dad. Even ten years later, I can recall, remember, reflect and be present to the qualities I carry as a result of being my dad’s daughter. I can rest in a relationship with my dad that is created in these links to our shared history. Whether this is your first or your fifteenth Father’s Day without your dad, perhaps you can spend this Father’s Day pondering which of his gifts live on in you?