Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

You'ld think being a writer, I'd be able to bang out 700 words in a heartbeat on Fatherhood, on the meaning of Dadness, and what having a husband who is a great Dad, and a father, whom I cherish, and a father in law who is loving, means. I also have a brother and brother in law, who awe me with their dedication to their children. I know we're all supposed to be that loving with our sons and daughters, it's still moving to see it in action. And I know countless families, where the fathers are so present, it's beautiful. They are the father's of my children's friends. And then there are the priests and teachers, who act in lieu of Mom and Dad when our kids are at school or mass, who present again, the image of what we are all supposed to be, thoughful, attentive and giving, loving and responsible. None of these people are perfect, but they through their example, provide glimpses of what God wants of all of us.

But it's hard.

To capture the essence of what these men mean and avoid sentimentality in the process, you're supposed to pin it down on specifics in writing. For example, instead of, he ate a poor lunch; He ate cold tomato soup from a can with buttered burnt toast.

So here goes: To my father, thanks for always loving us, even when we drove you nuts. Thanks for taking us sailing and fishing and buying us ice cream after we'd fought all the way to the store anyway. Thanks for reading me Watership Down and getting mad when I'd forged a signature on an F or gone cruising down Dowlen Road after you and Mom said I shouldn't. Thanks for all the long hugs when we greet at the airport for one of your visits or one of mine, and for the puns that pop up like mushrooms in our conversations. You're beautiful. You always make me smile.

To my husband, who pushes me to learn history and pay attention to politics, who keeps me from spending too much time in front of the computer writing by calling up to sing Surfer Girl and request that I water his plants and fix the fish filter, or brings home an unexpected book or game and helps devise systems to make the workload of all these children less taxing, thank you. Watching you take our son out to the garden when he's having trouble with his temper is a beautiful thing. Listening to you teach your daughters about past presidents and being on the sideline as you cheer your daughter on in softball, these are gorgeous moments for me as your wife. You love your daughters and your sons beyond well, and that makes you all the more wonderful to me.

My father in law has shown up quietly with great generosity at various moments in our lives and I am grateful for all of his help and assistance, even if I'm sometimes more than a bit stubborn in the moment. I can see how my husband became the man he is, by how his father acts and speaks, and I love his sense of humor.

So to all men out there who are fathers, who are in the trenches fathers, who tie shoes and coach teams, who sing for their children's first communion and bag groceries at the pantry program, who are present in their children's lives in a real brick and mortar kind of way, Thank You! Happy Father's Day!

May this year give you more presents than the perenial tie, painted rock, steaks in a box and gift certificate to home depot, may this year be the one where your children begin to recognize, How Great a Gift they have in You.

I'll return to humor on Tuesday, and discuss how my daugher who is two considers gargling to be a legitimate form of self expression in conversation. We're still working on finding out what it means.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!