Things You Should Know About Your Father

Dear Anna and Kellen,

Sunday was Father's Day. I just wanted to tell you thanks for trying to be extra good kids for Daddy. And thank you for putting so much effort into picking out the perfect cards for him at the store the other day. I know you won't remember this when you are older, but Anna picked out a Minnie Mouse card with a perfect 'daughter' message and Kellen picked out a Tom & Jerry card with an equally perfect 'son' message (but mostly because he is sure that Daddy loves Tom & Jerry just as much as he does). And then you both labored so long to write/scribble your messages and pictures in the cards. It was incredibly sweet.

Kellen - Before I put your card in the envelope, I asked if you wanted me to write another message to Daddy for you (one that he could read). And you did. It was: "Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I love you. And I hope you get well soon."

???

I suppose it can be difficult to keep your greeting card messages straight when you are four. But I do hope you know that there is nothing wrong with Daddy. He is perfectly healthy, both physically and mentally. However, he appreciated the kind thoughts.

After that it occurred to me that although you both understand that Father's Day is a day to celebrate fathers, you may not fully understand how blessed you are to have YOUR father. So...in the leftover spirit of the holiday...I wanted to write a few things down for you to read when you get a little older and can fully appreciate what I am telling you (I'm guessing that will probably be sometime beyond your teenage years).

Your dad is a pretty awesome guy. As you know, he's super smart, funny, and fearless (I would add 'totally hot,' but I don't want to make you gag). I think one of his very best qualities is that he is transparent in every way. For better or for worse, Daddy always tells people exactly what he thinks (depending on how those conversations went, some people might call this 'worse.') But his ability to be honest with other people flows from the fact that he is incredibly honest with himself. He knows exactly who he is and what he wants - and he never pretends to be something he is not. When Daddy was young and rebellious, he was completely and wholeheartedly rebellious (please don't ever do that, by the way). But when he was done being an idiot rebellious, he became completely and wholeheartedly committed to serving God and living a fulfilling life - and he hoped that would one day include raising a family. When Anna and I entered his life, he knew that we were what he had been waiting for. In a single day he became both a husband and a Daddy for the first time. And he never looked back.

I read so many blog posts and magazine articles written by women lamenting the fact that their husbands are unwilling or unable to help with the kids. And I nod silently when I hear those same types of complaints voiced in real life conversations. I understand where they are coming from because I used to have a marriage in which I felt all the family responsibility rested on my shoulders alone. That was a very lonely, very frustrating place. There are so many men who are entirely wrapped up in their work or whatever other passion happens to drive them - hunting, golf, beer, sports - you name it. With those men, their interests come first and everything else comes second. But Daddy is not one of those men. The passion that drives your dad is his family. You. Me. Do you know how lucky that makes us?

You probably think it's normal for fathers to rush straight home from work every night so they can spend time with their kids - and often, cook the family dinner (because Mommy's not such a great cook). You figure that all dads wake their kids up every morning, make them breakfast, and pack their lunches before driving them to school. And you also can't fathom a family in which mommy and daddy don't both sit in your room to say prayers, tuck you in, and wish you sweet dreams at bedtime. But in reality, you're already living the dream that so many other children long for.

Daddy is living his dream too. He wanted to be a dad. To be more specific, he wanted to be a great dad - just like the one that he has. And no matter how busy or crazy or stressful life can get, he has never veered from that desire or complained about his family responsibilities. Instead, when life gets challenging he just says "You know what? This is what I wanted. This is my family. I love it." (Literally. I have heard him say those exact words dozens of times.)

I look through all of our family photos and can't count how many pictures I have of Daddy reading you both bedtime stories or giving you kisses and hugs.

The pictures show Daddy front and center at every birthday party and holiday celebration. There is nothing that could keep him away from important family events.

The pictures also remind me that Daddy got up for late-night feedings just as much as I did (if not more) when Kellen was a baby. He was the first one to see Kellen roll over and was there when he took his first steps. He never wanted to miss a minute.

Remember how Daddy taught you each how to swing a baseball bat? Or how he taught Anna how to ride her two-wheeler in less than an hour? He is always trying to teach you something new.

 

This is also a man who is not ashamed to wear a backpack with sippy cups sticking out of the pockets. Or to ride in the kiddie rides. Or to give pedicures. If something needs to be done for the two of you, he doesn't care what anyone else thinks. You are his kids and he will do whatever it takes to keep you happy and safe, regardless of how "uncool" it may look.

Best of all, he is forever doing intentionally silly things just to make you guys laugh. Daddy has a wonderful (but very dry) sense of humor. I'm so proud that you have both learned to recognize sarcasm at such an early age. Well done, little grasshoppers.

I could go on and on and on...but I hope you understand what I'm trying to convey.

Look around you. Turn on the TV. Daddies like yours are getting harder and harder to find. He is totally committed to ALL of us. He is loving. And he is so incredibly proud of you. I'm not saying this makes our family better or worse than any other family. Families come in all kinds of configurations - some with dads and some without. But I AM saying that on Father's Day - and everyday - the two of you have so much to be grateful for. You are so blessed to have Daddy in your life. May you never, ever take him for granted.

Love,

Your equally grateful Mommy

Kate Hayes
Twitter ID: @Bostonblogmom
www.adventuresinparenting.me

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