Sunday, June 20, 2010

To the men in my life...

Today is Father’s Day, a day to acknowledge and honor all the special dads in this world, known for riling up their kids at the worst times and driving their women a bit crazy in the process.

To my father-in-law, Ray. He’s always reminded me of a movie star, with a little bit of John Wayne’s toughness, Clint Eastwood’s edge, and Paul Newman’s charm. He may be a man of few words to most, but to me, he’s nothing but an under-stuffed teddy bear dressed in denim. He’s a craftsman, and I’m continually impressed with the passion and dedication he has for the things that he loves: his wife, his kids, and his CNC machine. He is incredibly smart, able to put together his own CNC machine with the help of a guy from Ireland, put together a circular lathe in order to build a wood sink for his house, and carve one of our wedding pictures into a piece of PVC pipe. I’m a little bit in awe of him and still attempting to really figure out who he is. After six years, I’m still discovering new things about him (such as his theatre past), and hope to only unpeel more of his onion layers as I watch him as a grandpa.

Then there is my dad. He’s been a huge presence in my life for almost 26 years and I am continually grateful for what he has taught me. He’s the hardest working man I know, making it possible for Mom to stay home with us while growing up, yet, he was always there when we needed him. He’d work long Saturdays and late nights after full days of work, but still made the time to coach little league baseball, take my brothers golfing, and get up early on Sundays to help us deliver our paper route. He was the ‘cool’ dad in the neighborhood, always the one to initiate the game of baseball in the backyard, hit golf balls over the highway (that I chased of course), and take us on bike rides and Sunday drives to Clarksville to get crunch cones. His childlike curiosity (as my husband puts it), and appreciation for the simple things are unique and contagious. He is strong, yet sensitive, generous, and spirited. He is serious about certain things, yet outright silly about other things. He is the essence of a hero in my book and will be a hero to my son, without a doubt.

Then there is my one-and-only, my husband, a soon-to-be father himself. He is definitely his own unique soul, yet, he exhibits qualities of his dad and my dad. His sense of humor and wit are one-of-a-kind; I don’t know of anyone who can keep up with him. He’s quick on his feet, confident, and incredibly loving, from his accessible hugs, to the sweet way he is with his special Grandma J. Most of all, he is the one who keeps me going, who supports me, motivates me, and often helps redirect me to what’s important when I sometimes get distracted. He will be an incredible dad; it’s one of the main reasons I can’t wait for this little guy to enter the world! I know I will continue to learn from him when it comes to raising our son and am so thankful that I get to embark on this journey with him.

From the minute I told him I was pregnant in a cold car in January, I knew he was made to be a father. From the way he held my hand in the ultrasound room as we saw our son for the first time, to the pride he has put into the baby furniture, or the way his eyes light up when he feels our little man kick, he is showing me a whole new kind of love…a love I can’t wait to experience more of.

So, thank you, Beau, for allowing me the life I have always dreamed of. Thank you for always being there for me and for the journey we are about to set foot on. What a love you’ve given me.

At church today, as our pastor was reflecting on the imeaning of Father’s Day, he said the first image of our Heavenly Father that our children receive is through the example of their earthly father. When put that way, he said, it is a sobering, even scary responsibility. So today, I am thankful for not only my father figures, but all the father-like role models in this world. To the grandpas who do a great job stepping in for absent fathers; for the single mothers who play the role as mom, and as dad on a daily basis; for the coaches, teachers, pastors, and mentors who provide direction for those who lack it…you are amazing to me. As I think about the exciting responsibility of raising a son, a future husband and father himself, I only pray he follows the examples of the great men in his life, the dads and grandpas that will teach him to love, to work, and to appreciate the life he has. He’s got a lot of good in him already.

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