some thoughts on Father's Day

We've always been pretty low key for Mother's Day and Father's Day, mainly because my parents didn't want us to fuss over them. Brent's parents were the same, so we've pretty much followed suit.

However, sometimes a girl just has to say what a girl has to say.

First let me say this: Father's Day is hard for some. Be aware of this. Be gentle. Some have never known a father's love. Others have lost their fathers. Still others struggle daily with a man who is not a good father to their children. May it be a collective prayer this Father's Day that those who have been hurt or abandoned by fathers know the Great Father's love, and rest in His arms this day.

I recently read this article titled, "Dad's Aren't Dumb" in which the author says we should stop underestimating and undermining today's fathers. She goes on to say that there are great fathers out there, and they are not just "babysitting" when they have their own children, but doing "parenting of the very best kind." Can I get an AMEN?

Those of us who are raising children in this generation are fortunate. I've had several older women commend me about how great Brent is with our daughters, and then go on to tell me that when they were raising their kids, it was not expected that fathers be involved. And I know this is not to say that all weren't, but it was more readily accepted. I think there has been a big shift, especially in the church, for the men to step up not just as "household leaders", but to get their hands messy in the business of their kids.

And Brent loves to be messy in this business.

The minute the garage door begins opening, Blythe drops whatever she is doing and RUNS for the door. Daddy is home, and that means it is time to PLAY. And play they do. Brent plays with Blythe in ways I have never even dreamed about playing. Yes, I love imaginative play, but with him it is at an entirely new level and much more physical. And Blythe thrives under this play.

Even though we made the decision that I would be home with the girls, Brent fully understands that this is a full time job for me, and after he has put in a full day at the bank he rushes home to give me a break: a break he doesn't really get until the girls are both in bed. And if the house is a mess and dinner isn't on the table, he still tells me that I've done good work for the day. And I am able to thrive under this praise.

Training for a marathon? He does it before the girls are up, or after they've gone to bed.
Needs to mow? This happens during naptime on the weekend or with Blythe on his lap.
Blythe wakes up earlier than usual? Brent lets me sleep and changes her and feeds her breakfast, all while getting ready for work.

The fall is different for us, because I have softball obligations and duties and games. These leave Daddy in charge a couple of nights a week. Sure, when Blythe was little I briefed him on when she had last eaten or slept, but beyond that I just let him run with it. I never have to worry when they are with him. I know Blythe is going to be fed, usually bathed, run ragged with play, disciplined, and put to bed on time. I know Becks will be fed, talked to, and snuggled. And I know, if he thinks of it, he'll even unload the dishwasher or fold the clothes that have seemed to have taken up permanent residence in the laundry basket or dryer.

This past week Brent had a conference/class in Kansas City and had to stay down there from Sunday afternoon until Friday. I could tell he desperately wanted to be with our girls. He missed them. Genuinely. [I would have gladly traded him spots. ;) Mainly because he was at a HOTEL! I love them.] And the moment he walked in the door on Friday, knowing I'd had an exhausting week corralling Blythe and getting up with Becks in the night, he said, "Okay Kels, go take a nap or leave or do whatever. Seriously. Go." So I did. I left and I dipped my feet in the pool and read a book. And it was just what I needed. And he knew that. And he gifted me that time.

I know not everyone wants to read about how great Brent is, but I wanted to give him these words because he so often gets my leftovers: when I am exhausted and crabby, it is Brent that I crab and whine and snap at. When I am overwhelmed, it is Brent that gets my crazy I-don't-know-how-to-handle-myself-right-now tears. He gets the ugly, nasty me that I don't give anyone else, not because I feel the most comfortable with him, but because I know better than to treat other people the way I treat him-- and I know he won't leave. He may laugh in the face of my anger and tears, but he won't leave. And because I treat him like I love him least sometimes, when I really love him most, I need to give him these words.

Happy Father's Day, Brent. Thank you for not just being a dad, but for fathering our daughters. Thank you for wanting to get messy in their lives. Thank you for loving me back into the role of being a good parent when I'm not. Thank you for enjoying the time you spend with the girls. Thank you for getting up at 6:30 to rock Becks for a little while just so I can sleep for another thirty minutes. Thank you for working hard and living on less so that I can be home.

Thank you for lighting up the lives of your three ladies.  We are near Jesus when we are near you. We love you so much.

…and I didn't even mention the other GREAT fathers in our lives, but let it be said that our family is greatly and deeply blessed by men who love to love kids. We have some generations of good fathers in our blood. 

Uncle Dan… he may actually be a super hero, we aren't quite sure. 

My dad, better known as Papa these days 

Brent's dad, or PopPop… good enough to name a daughter after 
My Grandpa A.J…. and all the other Grandpa's in our lives now and before. 

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*carrie* said...

Nice! I read that article, too--so good.

I've been using that same "worksheet" for three Father's Days now. Natalie's answers are always funny; Nathan hates doing it--I think he's trying too hard and doesn't know what to say, so he made a card instead.

Hannah said...

That is such a sweet little card from Blythe :) I'm sure Brent will cherish that forever! Your girls are blessed to have such a wonderful daddy and mama! They are already seeing Jesus in you both.