Father’s Day is not merely a day to recognize the male paternal figure in a child’s life. It is a day to celebrate and honor the one who gave a child hope, faith and direction. A father is one who provides courage when you are fearful, challenges you to do more, encourages when you have doubts, and always loves you with an unconditional heart.
“I know, my God, that You examine our hearts and rejoice when You find integrity there.” (1 Chronicles 29:17a, NLT)
I reflect back to the early years, remembering my husbands delight as he participated in raising our three daughters. His amazed expression as he watched and felt each child’s movement within me before their entrance into this world. Fondly I remember watching the tender way he gently held them in his arms during their precious infant years. And for many years gave them each a single red rose on their birthday, including the day they were born.
His tenderness and love for each of his daughters has been a joy to watch as they grew from little girls into the women they have become. A smile sweeps across my face as I remember their delighted faces as they used to run up to him with their arms spread wide, just to be embraced by his warm and loving arms. How he cherished every picture they gave him, hanging them at home and at work. Their pride was apparent as they returned from their daddy-daughter dates to go fishing, bringing home their first catch. It did not matter the size or that it was a sunfish, what matter was that they were successful making their daddy proud.
He taught them how to camp and enjoy the outdoors. Hiking, canoeing and camping taught them how to appreciate the simple things in life that could be found nature. It also gave them a desire to spread their wings past their own backyard while teaching them that there was so much to enjoy in life, beyond the amusement park ride.
When toys were broken, or things needed mending, their daddy was always there. He not only fixed and mended, but he also taught them how to do the job themselves.
Riding a bike to driving a car, their daddy was by their side. They might not have enjoyed the direct approach, but they knew that he meant well. I laugh to myself, remembering the day in 1977 when he began teaching me to drive a standard. Sometimes I wonder how we ended up getting married. The way he taught me to drive a standard was going to be no different in how he taught his daughters.
Along with the drivers education course, he was most prominent in teaching our daughters how to drive a car, two of which he taught standard. As with everything he does, he was meticulous. His approach was, if you want to drive, you must know all there is to know about the road, other drivers, and how your car worked. This at times drove the girls crazy, but by the time they acquired their licenses, there was no doubt in his mind that, although still young and inexperienced, they had the proper tools and knowledge to be safe, care for their cars and drive well.
Yet, as they each headed off to college, he would do his daddy thing of making sure their car was safe, bags were packed securely, directions were understood, they had sufficient “emergency” cash, just to be sure. Sometimes the girls would share with me that he was driving them crazy, and I would just laugh knowing that there was no way they were going to stop him from caring. In reality, they really did appreciate how their daddy cared.
My husband is very much like his own father, where if the girls mention something that they would like to have made, or need to have fixed, he would immediately begin the process of trying to figure out how to accomplish this task. Although he helped them with electronics, room changes, bike repairs and the like, he enjoyed creatively using wood, making them things that they could use and treasure.
Our girls have always been avid readers and the one gift he has given each daughter is a custom bookshelf that he has individually made for each. It is something that they treasure as they store their love for reading on the shelves that was made with love. In addition, he has worked with each, teaching them the skills in basic woodworking, while guiding them in making memory boxes along with a covered bridge.
As our daughters depart and become independent, they take a part of their daddy with them. They take with them confidence in tending to the daily needs of their cars and homes, a tenderness for those they love, finding joy in simple outdoor activities with a desire to reach beyond their own backyard. In addition, they carry with them a heart filled with love and compassion for their daddy, that as a mom I treasure.
Their hearts strings are fully tied to the man who led them while teaching them what to look for in the man of their dreams. He held their tiny little hands when they were young and ready to run. He carried them when they fell yet teaching them to rise again. Although they have each grown past the age of 18 years, with tenderness in his eyes, he has allowed them to spread their wings like eagles, letting go so that they could soar.
I have been blessed to watch the man that I love, transform into the man our daughters love, adore and look up to.
Be the parent your child looks up to, who joyfully returns home to embrace you, who smiles with delight the moment they see you, and never stops saying “I love you”
Love life and all those who you are a part of,
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