Tribute to Dads on Father’s Day

Dad I saw you cry when each baby was born. I saw you love those tiny things. As each baby slept on your chest, you were contorted into the most uncomfortable position, but did not move, protecting the wee one's nap.

father and baby

Later I saw you teach your kids to cut the grass, whether they wanted to learn or not. I saw you throw ball then chase squealing kids on hot summer days with huge water soaking squirt guns. I saw you walk the dog with your children. I saw you drive them there and then wait for 2 hours to drive them back again. I saw you grab your giggling son by the ankles and whirl him around you until you both fell on the grass laughing. I saw you climb over the fence of the petting pen and rescue your young’un from that suddenly ‘oh so scary bunny’.

I saw you at the snow trip, you walked every one up to the top of the hill, then you walked down again to get the one kid glove left in the car. You walked all the way back up to the top of hill, and down again to return the light jacket to the car and retrieve the heavier one, kid size - small, and walked it all the way up to the top of the hill. You smiled the whole time, keeping every one jolly. When the ‘jolly’ did not work you carried the unhappy one all the way down the hill and stayed with him in the car until the wife and two older kids had their fill of snow. And they loved snow so it took a while affording you lots of bonding time and the challenge of keeping a 2 year old warm, interested and confined to protect tender cheeks and ears from the biting cold.

I heard your 7 year old son tell his mom that he did not think he could have gone on without you. Thankfully he did not have to. I saw you at the ballet recital, and at endless football, soccer games and diving or swim meets. You were glad to be there, loud in your praise and encouragement, enthusiastic in your support. And as time passed and the game became golf you both played you adapted and were equally forgiving and encouraging, never keeping score.

During the two weeks before Christmas, late at night when the kids finally went to sleep, I saw you put the bike, other ‘assemble at home toys’ and the doll house together, hiding them in the attic. And I saw you smile on Christmas morning as Santa received all of the praise.

I saw you sitting on the cut lawn with your teenaged kids, listening to “their” music and trying with all that was within you, to enjoy, and if not enjoy, then not hate it. When finances were difficult I saw you keep it to yourself, when they were good I saw you share them liberally. You shared your faith, your treasure and your heart.

I saw you with the orange cones (how did you come by those by the way? Borrow them, did you? I am sure you put them back, right?). You were in the empty church parking lot on a Tuesday evening. You chose the central spot in the huge black topped meadow, away from all curbing and light poles. You placed the cones in varying line configurations. You taught your 16 year old daughter to park between them, over and over again.

I saw you tell your grown son it was time he bought his own home, I saw you guide and assist him to do that and later when he married I saw it become his home base and the basis of his financial stability.

Sometimes I heard you yell, and storm off but through it all you were real. You loved, and laughed, and scolded, and lectured and refrained from lecturing and succeeded as magnificently as you sometimes failed. I saw you love and hold and rock to sleep, to teach to pray and walk and run and swim and drive and live righteous in an unrighteous world, and then let go. And sir, I salute you. Your children would not be what they are without you.

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