For a man whose nature demands that he take action and responsibility for every problem that enters his periphery, for a man who sees the world’s threats and pitfalls a split second before he sees its beauty, fatherhood is a natural fit. He is protective to a fault, and he is the most vicious troubleshooter you will meet. Anyone who lives under the wings of his protective reach is safe and well provided for.
I look at the examples of fatherhood in his life and see strength, a love of family and tradition, an immovable sense of responsibility, and passionate streaks. He exudes all these qualities and more.
I also see severe exhaustion, dutifulness that can lead to martyrdom, and maybe disappointment. He has experienced the richest gifts fatherhood can offer as well as some of the bitterest hurts. I worry about this. I already see these shadows casting long and dark in his legacy.
Life is like this, the brackish water always flowing. Sweet and bitter, mixed together, and every day we do our best to side with hope, live with Love, and choose joy.
He is completely trustworthy. He is perfectly reliable, able to foresee solutions to complex crises, able to maximize resources, and willing to take the back seat. Over and over again.
Since he agreed to take on the role of stepfather more than two decades ago, he accepted never being in the spotlight but always being the foundation, the back stop, the pillar.
He places a high price on fun and has over the years tried to carve out family adventures and daily silliness to lighten the heaviness of routine life. He has a desire to make dreams come true if possible, and he is painfully aware of how quickly time slips through our grasp. Sometimes it breaks my heart to watch him fight against the elements. It makes me want to protect him, for all the protecting he does.
His paternal instincts reach far beyond our home. Animals are always the first to enjoy his gifts. Then children in need. Children of friends. Employees and their children. Strangers. If someone crosses his path and activates his sense of guardianship, then nothing can stop him. I love this. I love that he is fulfilled by meeting the most fundamental needs in others.
I hope that in time his heart heals from these last several years’ shocks and injuries. I hope he begins to see his private fatherly investments yielding beauty and growth and absolute joy. I know he misses his dad. I know he misses Jocelyn. I know he loves every minute he gets with Jessica but wants something more. I know he wonders about other family relationships but keeps a light touch. I did not expect fatherhood at this stage in life to be so fraught with stormy emotions. But gosh it is. Fatherhood bears the weight of so much in this world. And it is embattled. Challenged. Watered down. Our best men are asked to do more and more with less and less acknowledgment and support.
Happy Father’s Day to the man who has more than earned celebration. May your resources be refilled. May your hope be renewed. May your own dreams come into focus and then come true. I love you always now and forever.
God knows everything