Well, it's already mid-June and you know what that means, it's almost Father’s Day. I've been mulling this blog around in my head for weeks thinking about what I want to say and how I want to say it, and quite frankly, it's hard to put down everything I want to write about dads. Part of me goes down a nostalgic path, other parts lead to sentimental feelings, while for the most part, I think about everyday life and how my husband impacts my boys' lives.
Most of the time I don't know where my writing will lead me until I finish so, let’s start with my dad. I'm lucky. Lucky in that I had my dad, lucky that he's still around and lucky that he taught me right and wrong and patience while respecting (what probably was extremely tough sometimes) my occasionally rebellious and independent spirit. I think one of the most important things he ever said to me was, "I may not condone the things you do, but I will not condemn you." I can't even remember what it was that I did when he said those words to me, but I can still remember the exact place I was standing when he did. And in those words were power. His power to love me and accept me while wanting only the best for me. Wow. I cannot tell you how often I've thought those same words while dealing with my boys.
I have two good kids. Sure, I'd like to accept the mother of the year award and take all the credit for who they are, but I know that so much of who they are and who they will become is thanks to my husband. He takes this dad thing seriously. And thankfully where I come up short in the parenting department, he shows his most strength.
It's funny, living with a house full of males, guys are still a mystery to me. I try to understand them, but I guess being a girl, I will never fully get what it's like to be a guy. That's where my husband comes into the picture. He keeps me in check when they don't do or think the way I think they should. He tells me what it's like to be a boy and how moms can sometimes make their kids feel. He steps in when they need a dad to guide them and support them.
Last weekend, my husband took my older son to Des Moines to see Black Flag. (No, not the bug spray, I’m talking the punk bank from the 80s.) My son loves music. I can remember him as a baby swaying to the sounds of my husband playing his guitar, amazed by how music seemed to strum through his little soul. Right now, he's into punk, which means that I have been getting a pretty heavy dose of a lot of the stuff I listened to in my teens. And while I get a kick out of hearing some of that stuff again, I must admit, that music resonated with me much more as a 14-year-old than a 40-something mom. But for my husband, who is also a music freak, he couldn't be more excited to share his love of music with his son. And thus, when our son told us Black Flag was coming to the Midwest, my husband thought, why not? Let's go!
You see, these are the things my husband does. He finds things in common that he can share with his boys and then makes sure they get to experience it with him. He doesn't necessarily indulge them, instead he lets them know that if something is important to them, then it is important to him as well. He takes the time and shows the interest. And though sometimes I'm off rolling my eyes in the corner at some of the things they want to do, he's right there, front and center saying, "tell me more." These kids are lucky.
I have to imagine that being a dad is tough. If they have girls, it must horrify them to think of their little girls being subjected to the likes of them while constantly being perplexed about what the girl thing is all about. And if they have boys, it must be sometimes like looking in a mirror and seeing yourself at a different age. I'll bet when they look at that reflection of themselves they see things they might have wanted different in their own lives, understanding the changes and experiences of being a boy, and wanting for their sons to grow into a man that they are or they want to be. Most recognize this as an opportunity to make a difference in someone's life by helping to mold and shape a person into a better version of themselves while providing encouragement and support along the way.
I am surrounded by fathers everywhere. At work, my family, my friends. I hear funny stories about kids, happiness in accomplishments, and worries about trouble. I see dads doing the best they can, while others wish they could do more. However, at the base of most of my experiences, I see love and a gratitude for simply getting the opportunity to be a dad. And I hope someday, all these kids appreciate what they have and return the love to their own children.
This Father’s Day, reach out to the dads around you and be thankful there are so many good men out there. We know moms are great. But those dads? Well, they are pretty great too. Happy Father's Day.