Devotion, Growing Up, Nest Building

What I Wanted

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Holding Hands

When I married my husband, I already knew he was a good friend, a hard worker, an intense gamer. And he had the perfect crooked smile.  What I didn’t know was he was such a family man.

I got my first impression of it when we, as newlyweds, went to visit his Mamaw and Great Aunt Nell.  We spent a lovely 4 days with them.  We played games, sat and talked, shared meals and created memories with them.  And as we pulled out of town, he said, “We should have stayed longer.”

I got a larger glimpse of it when he got a call from Texas saying his father had a stroke while on vacation.  He fought through tears and immediately booked us a flight to be there with his dad.  We got there and shared a few brief days with his dad and mom, just being there, just talking, just smiling.

Then God handed us a peek of “fatherhood” with the news of a baby!  My husband was nervous, excited, and a little nervous (yes, I said that twice).  We found out quickly that this baby would not be for us to hold in our hands, but rather in our hearts.  That day our world had a small crack in it, but he was not shaken.  He was a rock, he was patient, he accepted it as from the Lord (and he wept).  He stood next to me as I shook with tears at church almost every Sunday after that for months.

But each of these pictures of the heart of my husband for family and fatherhood were nothing compared to the moment we were handed our precious baby girl.  An early Father’s Day gift for him (born on June 11).  It was like he was meant to be a dad to this sweet girl (and I suppose he was).

From the moment she was born, he has done all the small things, all the big things, and all with patience.  I have walked downstairs to hear noise coming from the downstairs bathroom to discover him teaching her how to pour real water into tea cups in the bathtub (so she won’t make a mess, yes he knows me well).  I have been delighted to watch my little one run up to me (followed by her dad) holding a measuring tape and saying, “I measuring, Mama!”  He had been teaching her how to use a measuring tape.  He is there for every single bath, every bedtime kiss, each late night wake-up.

Tea Party

He would be the first to say that he was not that excited when we found out we were pregnant with another child when our first was only 7 months old.  He was so content with what we had, he wanted more time with just one.  But as the time came for us to welcome our second into our arms, he proved his father’s heart once again.  His love for our second is just as fervent, just as steadfast, just as strong.  He is there for her just as much as he has been with our first: teaching her to crawl, encouraging her, and celebrating her stern looks just as much as her smiles.

Holding Wren

Having the relationship I have with my own father (I am a true daddy’s girl), I took much of what a father-child relationship looks like from our connection.  I didn’t really understand that not everyone has the same blessings of small moments that build relationships, of knowing the surety of a father’s love.  My dad wrote me a letter a short time before I started dating my husband talking about the relationship he and I have.  He wrote something like, “A small part of definition of true love lies in what we have.”  Those words have stuck with me all this time.

The relationship I wanted my husband to have with our children (and even more so with our daughters) is what I always wanted.  I love watching the ties that bind them being knitted together in these precious years of baby- and toddler-hood.  I am so blessed to call him the dad of our children!

Happy Father’s Day!


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13 Comments

  • Reply Sheila at Longings End June 16, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    What a lovely tribute to your husband and what a precious gift he is providing for your children and especially your daughters. Not all of us had a good relationship with dad and it can leave a big hole in your heart that takes a long time to get over. So your girls are starting out in a great way with a dad who makes all the difference! God bless all of you. Thanks for sharing your story.
    sheila

    • Reply ussleah June 17, 2013 at 9:08 PM

      Yes, I know I am blessed with the love of my dad and the benefits of a present husband who loves his girls! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Sheila!

  • Reply JDaniel4's Mom June 17, 2013 at 3:31 AM

    What a wonderful tribute! He sounds like a super wonderful dad.

    • Reply ussleah June 17, 2013 at 9:07 PM

      Thanks! Yes, and he is just as good as a husband!

  • Reply Fawn @ Happy Wives Club June 18, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    What a wonderful dedication, Leah! He had to read this and think, “Wow am I loved and appreciated!” And for a man, any man, nothing feels better than that!

  • Reply Laura M July 8, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Wow this is beautiful and so touching. I love reading your writing, it is so open, honest, heartfelt and lovely. Thanks for sharing what fatherhood means to you.

    • Reply ussleah July 8, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      Thanks, Laura! What a wonderful compliment!

  • Reply Blayne July 8, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    This is absolutely beautiful Leah! I have tears in my eyes. Your hubby sounds like a wonderful guy and a wonderful daddy! Such a great post! 🙂

    • Reply ussleah July 8, 2013 at 8:15 PM

      Thanks, Blayne…he is and I am so blessed to call him my husband.

  • Reply Emma July 12, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    Beautifully written! Your girls are lucky to have such a great father in their lives!

    • Reply ussleah July 12, 2013 at 6:45 AM

      Thanks, Emma! We are truly blessed! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  • Reply Sheila @ Pennies of Time July 28, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    Just a lovely post, Leah! Clearly, a great man! And, the way you’ve expressed your thoughts help the rest of us look for ways to be thankful for the men in our lives! (The tea time in the bathtub pic is awesome!)

    • Reply ussleah July 28, 2013 at 5:31 PM

      Thanks, Sheila! We do love him (but it is partly because it is so easy!) and we are so thankful for him!

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