Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday's Words for June 24, 2009

This past weekend, we here in North America celebrated fathers.

I suppose because I grew up without one, I hold a special reverence for fathers in my heart. I do have memories of my daddy, though they are imperfect and shrouded by the mists of time. But I was thinking about him this past weekend, and I realized that my oldest son has a great deal in common with him.

I remember my dad doing things that most fathers in his day never did: cooking dinner, washing floors, folding laundry. That wasn’t typical father-like behaviour in the 1960s. But then, neither did both parents generally work in the 1960s. My mom was a nurse, and I recall her telling me that my father believed that, and I quote, “if she had to do part of his job—providing for the family—then it was only fair that he do part of hers—some of the housework.”

This was the example my brother grew up with, and one he emulated. Even today, after having celebrated 44 years of marriage, and being retired from teaching, he still does most of the cooking and a lot of the housework.

My son Christopher didn’t have that example. I do love my husband, but he would be the first one to tell you that he never did much around the house. My son does it all. Not only does he cook, and clean, he bakes and sews and knits. He’s a foreman for a large company, with a good sized crew, lots of heavy machinery—all of which he knows how to operate—but he likes cooking and baking.

His involvement with his family doesn’t end there. He and his wife have three children, and every season the children are involved in sports and other recreational activities. They have juggled t-ball, then later baseball, soccer, football, chess, and hockey. Currently, our son and daughter-in-law are coaching one of the teams. They are busy with children six nights a week, taking them to practices or games. They sit with them each night and help them with their homework. Then on the weekend they ferry the boys to their part-time jobs.

Christopher doesn’t know the meaning of the words “couch potato”.

We spent time with him and his family on Sunday. He and our grandsons – who are now 17 and 16 – take my husband golfing for Father’s Day. As Sunday was sunny and warm, the golf course was crowded. They had a tee-off time of 9 and didn’t return from the course until after 3 in the afternoon. The two adults were tired. But when my son sat down in the back yard, he welcomed his ten year old daughter onto his lap and began to play ‘hangman’ with her.

I’ve rarely seen him display impatience, and I’ve never seen him turn any of his kids away, even when he’s been beyond exhausted. And that sewing he likes to do? Every year he makes his daughter’s Halloween costume for her. [Maybe that last he gets from me, as he and his siblings never wore a store-bought costume for trick-or-treat.]

I take every opportunity I get to tell him how proud I am of the father he has become. I’d like to think that my beloved and I can claim some of the credit for that—and maybe we can, just a little.

But the larger truth is that he’s the man he is because of the choices he’s made and the priorities he set, right from the beginning, when his first child was born when he himself was just 19.

He is, quite simply, the best father I have ever known.


When being good stops being good, being bad can be better!
Reckless Abandon Coming Soon

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