Monday, June 11, 2012
Fathers vs. Daddies.
So, this Sunday is Father's Day.
I am well aware that while one of my favorite Sundays of the year brings me delight every time it comes around, I am also keenly aware that when the sun rises this Sunday, the holiday holds the power to peel scabs off of wounds found in the hearts of many men, women, boys, and girls.
I love to see men following the blueprint God designed for their lives. And I love daddies. Let's be clear. Daddies are different from fathers. Anyone who knows someone who is "just" a father knows exactly what I'm talking about. In fact, the difference between fathers and daddies is as vast as comparing the Grand Canyon to a pothole. Apples and oranges. Cats and dogs. Boys and girls. You get the point.
What's my wish for this particular blog post? Oh, my wish is simple today. My wish is that this blog will be printed out and distributed to men who have the opportunity in front of them to right some wrongs. Men who maybe need a pat on the back for a job done well. Men who haven't fathered or daddied anyone yet, but have the blank canvas of parenthood in front of them.
But it's mainly to put a spur in the saddle of any man who finds himself being less than all his kids need him to be, and more importantly- less than he was designed to be.
A father shares his "seed" in a moment of passion- whether genuinely or selfishly motivated.
A daddy steps up when the moment is over.
A father works overtime to make extra income for the family.
A daddy knows when quality time is the extra income his family needs.
A father cares about his last name being on the birth certificate.
A daddy gives his name to a child he didn't create.
A father comes home after a long day at the office and puts his feet up.
A daddy comes home and gives Mommy a break- because her job isn't 9-5.
A father raises his children and starts the second half of his life.
A daddy realizes only one phase of his job is over at graduation.
A father may have a hard time with giving affection.
A daddy realizes that if he's not affectionate with his daughter, she'll find someone who will be.
A father sits in the stands and criticizes his son's every effort.
A daddy takes him out for ice cream and then home for one-on-one practice.
A father may have to travel for business.
A daddy makes sure his presence is felt in his home, whether he's there or on the other side of the planet.
A father carries a picture of his kids in his wallet.
A daddy has a story to go along with each face he shows off.
A father's eyes may wander.
A daddy trains his eyes to look at one woman for the rest of his life.
A father hopes his kids aren't looking.
A daddy lives the same life whether they are looking or not.
A father gives instructions.
A daddy models them.
A father demands respect.
A daddy's very life commands it.
A father makes his own choices because he can.
A daddy filters every single decision through the filter of what his choice will mean for his family.
A father builds a retirement account.
A daddy makes sure there's good memories to accompany the funds.
Twice in this life, I've known the love of an earthly father. Once from my own sweet childhood- from a daddy who didn't get it right every time, but always did in the areas that count, and who is pretty much as perfect as perfect can get this side of eternity. And again from viewing the love of my husband for his children. The pure, unadulterated affection that can't help but spill from his every move toward them. I am convinced that inside every man there is a part of himself that only awakens when he becomes a father- and that part of him turns into a daddy the first moment he holds his child.
The other day, Rod's heart was broken by our sweet girl when she chose not to kiss him goodbye for one of the first times in front of her friends. I ached for him as I saw the literal rejection he suffered in an innocent moment of growing up. I wish I could let him see the future as I have lived the past- how there will be times that Big Strong Daddy will be an embarrassment and an eye-sore... that his very presence, while representing the safety and security our kids crave and desperately need, will also represent boundaries and rules they will hate. I wish I could assure him that the very arms Abi rejected will be the ones she will collapse into when a boy breaks her heart. That she will love her husband with all her heart, soul, and body- but she will take a person out with one arm tied behind her back if someone messes with her daddy. That when she's 30-something and raising her own children, there will be times when she will catch a whiff of her daddy's cologne out in public, and her heart will melt.
I want my husband to know that while I find him irresistibly attractive and handsome- every time I see him playing "doopies" on the floor with Walker, or hear him on the baby monitor changing a diaper while talking softly to our baby boy, I fall head over heels in love with him all over again. Everytime he's headed out the door to pick up Abi from school and he grabs her favorite snack and a cold bottle of water for her, I notice. When he talks to Abi about the shade of green her eyes are, I want to kiss him. And when he's hurt her feelings and he apologizes, I smile. When we're in public and I see other people observing the tenderness that my Grizzly Man unashamedly shows his wife and children, my heart swells with pride. What a man.
As I am writing this, Walker is sitting in my lap, trying to get a yellow highlighter into his mouth, unaware that in the next room, the ticket to his manhood is working at his own desk on Sunday's children's church lesson. Unaware of the deep laughter they'll share. Oblivious of the heart-to-heart talks that will keep them up into the night. Unseen are the ballgames, campouts, and fishing trips- the mysteries they will solve about women, the inside jokes that only they will get, the straight lines they will walk together through adolescence and young adulthood. Walker is unaware that his father- the one who gave him life- will also help him make his life worth living.
His father is a daddy.
That makes all the difference.