Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Kind of Dad He Is

My husband and our eldest daughter just left for a Father's Day Sleepover at the Zoo.*

My husband is excited, because he is always excited--ALWAYS EXCITED--to embark on adventures with his children. It would not occur to him to wonder if there is a ball game on TV tonight that he will miss, to regret that they are not serving beer as part of Sleepover Supper, or to speculate on whether it will be dumb or boring or cheesy. He hasn't even figured out that he will likely not be one of the American fathers sleeping in tomorrow morning, as he will wake up in a tent, somewhere over by the camels. He is just simply psyched. And up for anything, as long as he is with his girl.

This dad flies kites with his daughters, takes them on neighborhood clean-up missions, teaches them how to garden, fish, and clean. He colors in coloring books. He swings at the park and splashes at the beach.

He laughs and snuggles and encourages. Though he is a coach, I know he will never push our children to be athletes in his image. He wants them to be who they are.

His temper is long. He listens carefully to the concerns and worries and protests of our children and treats them like thoughtful human beings. He hugs. He apologizes.

He is firm and consistent. He is a parent unto himself--he doesn't defer to me or to anyone else. He is not the kind of father--out with his kids somewhere--that moms feel the need to help out or advise. He is a natural.

He is the Morning Man, because I leave so early for work. He makes our kids (different!) breakfasts everyday and dresses them. He drops them off, fills out forms, volunteers, and attends open houses and doctor and dentist appointments.

And he has his own full-time job.

My husband is the kind of dad that inspires our elderly neighbor to pull me aside and confide that she thinks he is an amazing father...unique in the attention he gives our children and the patience he demonstrates.

Honey, our daughters are so fortunate to grow up in your care. And I am thankful that I raise them with you.

*What I love about the Father's Day Sleepover at the Zoo is that it is for dads and kids. The Mother's Day Sleepover at the Zoo, on the other hand, is for Moms Only. There must be women running the Sleepover Program.

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