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.
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.
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!