In two more days it is Father’s Day and my mind usually reminisces about my dad and what a blessed person I have always been to have been given the dad that I was given by our wonderful God. Today however, I am not writing about him but am thinking of four other people who could claim the same blessing and they are my four children.

 

        My husband has been a fabulous father and each of our kids would be the first to echo that statement. They will always have memories of a dad who was not always home because of his military service and professional life after the military that required him to travel, but when he was home, he was completely plugged into their lives. When they were all little, he tickled them and had wrestling matches with them that would rival the intensity of the professional wrestling bouts of today. He bought the boys their first boxing gloves and taught them how to defend themselves. He took them to the obstacle course at the Marine Corps base and held fun competitions and challenged them to be physical and tough. Yet, he was also the guy who videotaped himself reading no less than 180 bedtime stories before he left on a six month deployment so that his little ones could watch him read them a bedtime story each night while he was gone for half of a year. He has been called “dabby” not “daddy” by our daughter since she was a little girl as it is a sweet joke and understanding between the two of them. He has sat and played dolls and Barbies with her just because she wanted him to be “Ken” and he would talk just right in his “Ken” like voice and she would laugh and giggle. He would clap loud for her as she sang her many in house concerts for us in our livingroom as she was growing up. In all of our sons' sports teams that they played on, they knew that if dad was in town, he would be there cheering them on. There was just one year in which his work hours were reasonable enough to allow him to coach our sons' teams and he jumped right in and was their coach for both basketball and soccer. To this day, our boys look back on all of their team experiences and remember that one the most. If they were involved in a fine arts competition in which they were giving a speech, they knew that dad was taking off of work to be there. Each of our sons were in a drama presentation during their high school years and they knew that their dad would be front and center in the audience to watch them perform. Our daughter knew that if her dad could be there to hear her sing in her many recitals and voice competitions, he would be. To sum it up, they knew that they were important to him and that he cared and that is what it is all about. I have known children whose dads gave them a brand new car for their sixteenth birthday but they never looked up and saw dad sitting in the bleachers when they were on that soccer field. When they surveyed the crowd in the auditorium hoping to see dad’s face out there before they began their piano piece, he was nowhere to be found. I honestly believe that if these kids were given the choice of having that car or their dad present at all of their special events, they would gladly hand over those car keys. What is astonishing though, is some dads never realize this truth or if they do, it is not until their children are almost grown and out of the house.

 

         This of course is not to say that everything was a rosy and great time with my husband and his parenting and my children would attest to this fact as well. ( ha ) For example, he has never really been known for being extremely patient. This was proven when my children were learning to drive. When our eldest son had his learner’s permit, he lasted all of about one minute in the car as my son accidentally put the car in reverse one Sunday morning as he hit the gas. No sooner had we backed up over the front curb onto our front lawn, that my husaband was swinging the car door open, jumping out and declaring “No thank you, this is not for me, you will be the one to teach all the kids to drive!” and I did. He also was most definitely more of the “no bail out” mentality (which actually our government could learn a lesson from). If one of our kids forgot to bring their lunch to school, I would be grabbing the forgotten lunch on the counter and running it out to the car as he would be yelling “Let them go hungry, then they’ll learn to not forget it!” I know that there are scores of wives reading this right now who are shaking their heads up and down as they have heard the same advice from their husbands. We moms are softies however and just cannot endure the thought of our kids’ stomachs growling as they are struggling through a Math test.

 

        My husband may not have been the most longsuffering dad in the every day routine of life but he was a champion in the crisis situations with our kids. I will never forget one night in which our second oldest son Ben called at two in the morning. He had been on his way to see his girlfriend (who is now our daughter-in-law) who lived in Philadelphia. His car had broken down on the highway in Baltimore and he needed dad to come and get him. My husband had been up for almost twenty-four straight hours as he had just returned home from a trip out of the country and yet he did not hesitate to jump in our car to go to our son. There is also no such thing as an inconvenient time for him to be a help to our children wherever and whenever he is needed. He exhibits this time and again as he is the first guy to show up for each of the times that our sons have moved to a new home which means a total of about eight moves thus far between our three boys. When our oldest son began his ministry in Ohio and needed help driving the moving truck and his car there, dad immediately arranged his schedule to be available. Consistently, he is there for our other sons who live right here in the same town as us.  “ Dad, can we borrow the pick up truck on Saturday?”…no problem. He might have needed it himself on Saturday but no matter, he will work around their need. “Dad, can we borrow a tool?” ...no problem. Again, he may have needed that tool himself that day, but he will adjust. Simply put, he has been an unselfish man with his family and that is not always a common thing. He has been giving of not just his resources, but of his time, his energy, his interest. Our children have always been secure in this knowledge which has directly influenced who they are as adults today. My two sons who are parents now themselves are great dads and my husband can take much credit for that as those boys have had a hands on dad since they have been little tykes.

 

        The unfortunate part about all of this as I write this is that my husband will most likely be surprised when he reads this blog. Why is that? Because even though everything I have written is true, in our every day lives we have a tendency to just focus on the shortcomings, the weak areas, the ways in which we feel that the other parent is not doing such a great job. My husband has probably heard much more rhetoric from me complaining about what I think is lacking in his fathering than positive input.  If you asked him what I talk most about concerning what kind of dad he is, he just might say that I think he gets angry too easily or that he is too critical of the kids or any number of things. He would answer that way because in the day to day frustrations of daily living, we have a tendency to be vocal about what is wrong and not be thankful for all that is right. It is human nature to take for granted all that is good and be consumed with that which we think is not up to par. We just sometimes have a knack for overlooking the great parent that our spouse is, don’t we? I hope this tribute to him today lets him know how thankful we all are for the dad he has been to this family. We would not trade him for any other dad anywhere. I hope that you feel the same way about the dad in your family. Do you? If so, then let him know it. It will be a great Father’s Day gift!