Sunday, June 19, 2011

Daddy Dearest

As a mom, my thoughts and gratitude often travel over to my own mother now that my understanding of her mommy career has deepened. It’s not as easy to recall how my father influenced my life, regardless of how much I love him. But now is the month for celebrating our dads and our children’s fathers or male role models, and it’s an easy task since I’m married to the most awesome dad on the planet.
While my husband is a very mature and responsible person, he is also a kid at heart and the best playmate a child could hope for. I absolutely love his falsetto reading and the little songs he makes up on the spot that involve feeding, changing, and cuddling our twins. He’s so exuberantly proud of every little triumph our kids make, and my dinner prep is often interrupted by his urgent shouts for me to witness our little geniuses at work. Watching my husband with our kids is one of the greater joys in my life, and brings back some fond memories of my own childhood with my Pa.

My father came into my life when I was barely a year old, and he adored me instantly, of course. He’s always been most comfortable with children when they can still fit on his chest, and I used to love resting on him and hearing the sound of his heart beating under my ear. He taught me how to earn nickels by walking carefully over the knots on his back. I don’t think I relieved the sore muscles, but Pa always made me feel indispensible.   

I remember how disappointed I was to find I could trick him when I skipped brushing my teeth and he still performed the “blinded by the dazzling white” routine. I suddenly realized my Pa wasn’t all-knowing, and that brought on the insecurity of wondering if he’d always be able to protect me. He did his best to prepare me for the opposite sex, and was adamant that a guy who didn’t come around to open the car door wasn’t worth my time. Pa took me out for a big girl birthday dinner and did his best to exemplify all that I should demand of future suitors, which amused me but also sent my gears clicking a few years later. Turns out, he was right about a lot!

My biological father didn’t occupy my life or thoughts for a very long time, and when I attempted a relationship as an adult it was a painful disaster. However, through him I gained the opportunity to find the awesome freedom and healing forgiveness can bring, and before he died he met his grandchildren with open arms and the love he’d finally found a way to access through a love far greater than his own.

The three dads in my life have reminded me that while it’s a profound privilege and responsibility to parent a child, we also have to acknowledge the strong likelihood that we are raising the next generation of parents. While that increases the burden, it’s hopefully also a joy that we can have a hand in growing a new crop of wonderful fathers (and mothers)!

To all the men who have taken such a role upon themselves and are committed to investing a lifetime nurturing and equipping our children, happy Father’s Day! 

provided courtesy of Royce Bair,


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