This is where my whole awareness of fatherhood and Dad-dom started…
My dad gave me this picture as a wedding present and I’ve learned a few things about Dads since it was taken. Like how you make a Dad.
First, you start with a man and you take him completely at face value. You don’t require that he change his bad habits, or that he somehow repair the cracks that his past and life have hammered into him over the years. You certainly don’t expect him to be something that he is not. A touch up coat of paint isn’t necessary nor is a new wardrobe. Next, you ask him to do something that will come easily and be completely foreign all at the same time. You ask him to love a child. You ask him to tap into that primal desire to protect and provide and you give him a reason he can hold in his arms. Then it happens. Like that, this broken and imperfect man transcends himself and becomes something more. Something epic and awesome.
I’m blessed with two Dad’s of my own. They are flawed and it’s taken me time to get over that and love the whole package. I feel like a snot that it took me so long because both of them loved me without reserve from the moment they met me, one when I was born and one when I was seven. Together somehow they raised me into me and I can’t thank them enough for sticking with that project.
Then I got a Dad-in-law and became thrice-ly blessed. Not sure if he loved me from the get go, but he made me feel like I had permission to join the family and that was enough. Now I truly do feel loved and the only sad thing is that we don’t see him (or Mom) more often. DUDE! I’m already crying and I didn’t even go into detail about how great these men are…oi. I’m going to be a mess in a minute.
My Dad-in-law gets a special round of applause because he somehow raised this guy to be my husband and the father of my babies. I’m not a gushy person by nature and I already am sporting raccoon eyes and snorting snot (I’m looking pretty hot right now) so I won’t say much. I wish I had better words to explain how much I love my husband. How stoic he was when Layna was born and we realized she was different. How he cried when he held her, painful and terrified tears. How he catches her when she barrels into him everyday when he comes home from work. How he can teach our son to love his future wife by example and how he shows our girls that they are worth a love like that. How he is teaching Garyn to be a gentleman and our girls to be ladies. He teaches me daily that I am worth a love like that and I am more because of him. Happy Fathers Day to the men in my life, I love you and hope you know how much you are appreciated.