Happy Father’s Day to my foster father, Gardiner Smith.
Gardiner and Fay were a young couple with two small children when they felt inspired to move to a village in central Alberta, where he began to teach science at the local school. One day the teachers had a staff meeting, and a social worker told them that two teenage girls needed a new foster home. Gardiner went home and talked to his wife about it. They felt strongly that they should take us, and after Christmas they welcomed me and my sister into their family.
For the first time, we had a normal, stable home with parents who loved each other and were committed to each other. They taught us through word and example what the gospel meant. Gardiner was a humble person who had seen his own trials in life. He observed the world around him and thought deeply about things. We helped him in the garden, watched as he crafted furniture from wood in his workshop, and listened to his stories that illustrated the things he was trying to teach us. I appreciated his efforts, his dry humor, and his insight. Listening to his stories was like sitting at the feet of a wise master teacher. Through the years, they added seven more children, and we so enjoyed interacting with them. In this loving environment, I grew and flourished. A light had turned on in my life, and I was thirsty for knowledge. Gardiner gave me the confidence to apply to college and pursue a teaching degree. Because of their example, I had the courage to marry and have children. When I left home for college, he and Fay continued to write, call, and provide a summer home. It wasn’t until Sam and I had two small children of our own that I understood the sacrifice they had made and the great love they had for us. Because of them, I knew how to parent my own children. The great blessings I enjoy today are because of their wisdom, guidance, and love. I am who I am because of him and Fay. I will never be able to repay this debt, and my heart is full of gratitude. Happy Father’s day to a wonderful man.