I’m sure we have all heard the saying “a daughter needs a father to be the standard against which she will judge all men.” And in honor of Father’s Day this weekend, let me tell ya, I have VERY high standards. I am a product of an amazing Dad. I am a product of a father who was ALWAYS there. At every game, every event. Every high and every low. My Dad poured his love into me and my brother daily. Monday through Friday, I heard him leave for work way before the sun was even waking up. And looking back, and now having my own daughter, I realize now that was so he could be on his way back home as we were getting out of school. So that he could be there, every night, at the head of the dinner table. So that he could rescue my Mom from a day full of bickering and fighting between my brother and I. So that he could come through the door with “that look“. That look he would give me when I knew Mom had already shared my dark, disrespectful secrets of the day with him. The look that says, “I am disappointed in your actions, but love you so very much none the less.” And after dinner together, we would go outside. We would practice those passes I had messed up on in the game last week. We would practice the header I missed in the 2nd half. During which he was secretly teaching me. Teaching me that hard work pays off. That practice and effort are important when you are committed to something. Teaching me that its easy to be given a participation trophy; and that MVP trophies are earned. Teaching me so many lessons that would apply to so much more things in life than just a soccer field. And when the sun started to tuck itself in, we went back inside. Where we would all sit in the same room, watching the same TV. My brother, Mom and I always shared a couch. And my Dad always had “his chair“. He was the King of our family; we all knew it, we all wanted it that way. We’d watch movies together, sometimes those super cheesy Lifetime ones. You know, the ones that make most people roll their eyes because it seemed as if “reality” TV shows had sucked every bit of the reality out of these movies. But I’d always catch my dad, out of the corner of my eye, sitting in his chair, wiping a tear from the corner of his. That’s one of the things I love most about my Dad. In high school, most of my brother and I’s friends were always quite scared of “Mr. Brown”. The silent, intimidating rock. But my brother and I knew better. My brother and I knew that this silent, intimidating rock would cry watching a touching story on 20/20 later that night. We knew that he would laugh hysterically at that night’s episode of Seinfeld – even though he had seen every one a dozen times. We knew he would hug and kiss us good night; every night. We knew that the silent, intimidating rock would be in church that Sunday, with his hands held high. Hands held high, praising our Father in Heaven. I’m sure, praying for us. Praying for wisdom and strength to raise us into kingdom kids. Praying for his marriage. Praying, praying, praying. I can’t help but to get a few goosebumps today wondering what those prayers saved me from. What those prayers did to my heart years later without my knowledge. Who those prayers brought into my life.
And as hard as it was for my Dad when he was suddenly no longer the only man in my life, I want him to know how much my now husband was an answer to MY prayers. My prayers that God would send me a strong and loving man – a man like my Father. From day one, I told my husband “my dad can be a tough one. He is very intimidating and probably won’t make of an attempt to get to know you. You must pursue him in order to have me”. My entire world was made the day I realized I had picked a good one, that my Dad approved. I can’t imagine how nervous my husband was when he stopped by my parents’ house one evening to ask my Dad for his blessing – to ask my Dad if he could marry his little girl. But the most important thing he received that night wasn’t a “yes” – it was the fatherly advice that came after. My Dad told my husband he must invite someone else into our marriage – that this knot we were about to tie needed a third strand. I thank God every single day, that my Dad was still, even in that moment, leading me to Christ; leading my husband to Christ.
And now my husband is a Father of his own. The Father of our beautiful creation. Since the very first day I met that man, I knew he was made to be a daddy. While I was pregnant and hormonal, I remember being so scared to have her because I just knew he was going to be better at this parenting thing than me. And since her arrival, he has blown all of my expectations out of the water. That little girl has her daddy wrapped around every single finger – he knows it and he loves it. I have watched his heart quadruple in size, I have watched his patience grow, I have seen a gentleness that I never knew existed inside of him. I have watched him cry at the sound of her first – and I have watched him jump out of bed every night at the sound of each subsequent one. I have listened to him whisper his never ending love to her over the baby monitor. I have watched them cuddled up on the couch together, sharing the same blanket and watching the same movie…every single day. I have watched him kiss away boo boos and cuddle all the hurt from her little body. I have watched him take her tiny, outstretched hands and pray with her. I have watched him watch her – in complete awe; as if she’s the first and only thing he’s ever done right in this world.
I have watched and I have learned. I’ve learned that it doesn’t take having an amazing father to be an amazing father. I’ve learned that amazing fathers are the minority these days. I’ve learned that I am abundantly blessed with two caring, patient, Godly men. I’ve learned that the world puts so much emphasis on a mother’s role in raising children. But I’ve learned that FATHERS ARE IRREPLACEABLE. And none are more irreplaceable than the ones my daughter and I get to call our own.
Happy Father’s Day Dad and Babe. Your girls love you more than you will ever know!
Happy Father’s Day to every other Dad out there that invests in their child(ren) – your families are better because of men like you. The world is better because of men like you.