Another Father’s Day and an opportunity to appreciate those that have raised us, loved us and provided for us, and continue to do so. I am thankful to have some amazing men in my life, all with their own ways of loving the children they are fathers to.
My son is young, he (much like me) got a jump on parenting and began in his late teens. I don’t think for a minute that he was ready or had a clue how much stress and love would be involved in having children at any age, much less as a teenager. You always try to prepare your kids for things you’ve been through, and pray that they heed the warning that it was hard, or it sucked at times. Even with those descriptions, they know the love you have for them and have shown them through those times, and that they made it through all your bad parenting decisions, and they don’t see it as such a bad thing. I don’t view any of being a teenage parent as a “mistake” – it’s simply something beautiful done at the wrong time for most people. We aren’t ready at that age, we don’t know everything we should, and we have no desire to listen to those that do know what we should do. We are still children ourselves. Through that, I raised an amazing son, and my amazing son, is raising his sons with the same love and trial and error I did. He has learned a lot in the 2 years he has been a daddy, and as he makes choices and learns the consequences of them, he is learning that I was right…it’s not easy, but it is totally worth it. It’s hard to watch him flounder and do things totally different than I would, just as I’m sure it was for my mom, but I am very proud of him, and the choice he has made to stand up and take responsibility for the children God has placed in his life.
I’ve never had a father in law like D’s dad. It was a bit scary coming into a family with a preacher as your new father in law. While we were dating, D’s parents came to Georgia while D stayed in North Carolina for work. I vaguely remembered them from around school and church when we were little, but past that, there was no relationship and I had no idea “how” they were. D assured me that they would love me, but I was still so scared to have them come visit me without him present. So nervous, that before they came to visit, I changed my blue nail polish because I didn’t want his mother to think anything odd of me. I had enough to offer without blue nails though…let’s see, 2 divorces – check, teenage son with a kid on the way – check, making his son drive 2 states away to date me – check…yeah, not good. Except, it was. In fact, I’ve learned from the entire family, that there is nothing that surprises them or takes them out of their comfort zone. No family is perfect, and my imperfect background was nothing of consequence to him (or them). His only requirement and concern about me was that I love Jesus and am a Christian, and that I love his son unconditionally and without reservation. I am proud to be a part of his family and even more thankful that my husband had such a strong example of what a man is to teach him how to love and protect me, and how to love and raise our children.
My dad and I have something different than most people. I don’t remember lots of the details of when my parents divorced. I know things now that my mom has told me, or my sister, or that my dad has eluded to that he is not proud of having done. I still don’t have a clear bone to pick with him since I didn’t have those feelings of anger/betrayal at the time things occurred. I have held resentment for what he put my mother, my sister and me through later in life because of his decisions, and for not sticking to his pledge to love, honor, and cherish my mom. However, we all make mistakes, sometimes they are small and just annoying bumps in the road, and sometimes they will forever effect our lives and the lives of those around us. I can’t say that I’ve forgotten all the things I know about what happened, but I do forgive him, and now that he is willing to know about me and my life and I am witnessing him make an effort to be involved and talk to me, I find it much easier to have conversations with him without feeling like it’s just a formality. My dad has had health issues lately, and after losing my mom, I don’t want to lose him and regret not being adult enough to move past any hurt feelings I have in order to show him love that we all deserve. He is not perfect, but he made four amazing daughters who love him more than he probably realizes.
Last year on Father’s Day I talked about how amazing D is. As the father figure in our children’s daily lives, he consistently loves, raises, cares for and does everything in his power to ensure that the children we have are aware of his love, and the expectations of them on their behavior and actions while learning and growing up. It’s pretty hard to be a father to a child that chooses to walk a path that is not in line with how a child should be raised, but even through that hardship he has taken on 2 children that are not his biologically and treated them as his own. He is under no requirement to be a parent to my children, however he does it happily, with grace and strength, and with God’s love and guidance on a daily basis. It has allowed them to bloom, grow and learn to be comfortable with the man they have in their daily lives by trusting him, and knowing that he loves them when they are wrong and loves them when they are right. There is nothing more special to a mother than having a man, that treats their children as they should be treated. My life is much easier, smoother, and happier having a man that loves his family as selflessly as he does.
Happy Father’s Day to you all, you are all greatly and deeply loved!