By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Jun 21, 2015 at 10:04 AM

My message was the same that night.  No change in the delivery, tone or intent. But, my 3 year-old reacted quite differently than she usually does. In fact, she'd never even reacted at all during similar encounters.

Every night before I go to sleep , I stop in the kids' rooms to check on them, give them a kiss and a short positive message.  It's usually along the lines of I love you, you're a great boy or girl, you impress me and/or make me and mommy proud. Sometimes it's deeper, kinda depends.

This night, April 26, was different. My Dad was into his second day of full incubation as his body battled sepsis, a severe blood infection.  His numerous doctors were working hard, but delivering their hope with candor and odds that were in the infection's favor. I prayed, somewhat ignoring the odds and put my trust in God, the medicines, my mom, my family and a history of medical advances and miracles that never cease to amaze.

So, needless to say, when I walked into Pierce's (our 3-year old daughter's) room that night I was very tired.  Long days and nights at the hospital take their toll. I kissed her forehead, arranged the family of dolls she sleeps with and said, "you know, Pierce, you can do anything you want in life. Daddy loves you." Instantly, and still seemingly fully asleep she sat up and said "I know." Then, she fell right back to sleep.

On most nights this would have freaked me out or at least irritated me because it probably meant her waking up and wanting to jump into our bed for the night. Not on this night, though. It meant - at least to me in the moment - "I know, Dad. Papa (my Dad) is going to be all right."

Her message was encouraging and amazing at the same time. And it made me realize that these were two things - encouraging and amazing - that my Dad's always been to me. I didn't need a sickness or a sign from my 3 year-old to tell me this. But, they both helped reinforce it.

My Dad's finally out of the hospital after nearly 10 weeks and he's on a solid road to full recovery. But, needless to say this Father's Day means a bit more. It always should, though. For all of us. 

Dads can be cast as fools in the media. I'm not a big fan of this. My Dad's awesome. Yours is too.  Mine is full of character, patience, charm and encouragement. And, encouragement is something we all need.  From a coach, boss, mom or dad.  My Dad's always been there for me and even when he laid pretty close to death in the hospital he somehow found a way to funnel encouraging words through my daughter.

There's no doubt this Father's Day is extra special in our house. Make it so, in your home too. No matter what or who your father is.

So, here's to Dads everywhere. And, thanks Dad for all the encouragement and love - however and from wherever you send it.  I love you. 

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.