It is the time he spends playing with our children- teaching them how to unwind when their mother has been run ragged and "fun" has fallen out of her vernacular- that make him a splendid mate and crucial life line in our children's lives. He not only demonstrates how to score goals but, also, how to set them. And he provides a balance- letting them know that there is more to life than w-o-r-k. He engages them, encourages them, guides them, redirects them- all the while showing them that they matter.
It is also in the space between the time of obligations/ the fulfillment of academic responsibility and chores and the time of recreation and abandon that I find him teaching them in the most subtle manner. They nestle in the quiet time, the down time where he does not force them to fill the silence with the things grown ups so often make them speak of. He does not impose upon them lectures and expectations. He just lets them "be"- thinking, resting beside him, in his company while he regards them peacefully.
|And, he poses for pictures while sporting an overstuffed diaper bag.|
|And, he rocks the girl children quietly in a corner away from the clamor of the family during a holiday celebration.|
It is these moments, along with a million other moments, some which will be counted and others which will pass without fanfare that make him the wonderful parent that he is.
And, then there are the other men in my life who have served over the years as positive male role models. I am most grateful for the relationships they have developed with my children, their grandchildren. It has been beautiful to watch them bond, to be present in my children's lives, to embrace the role of grandfather. They each have a gift for knowing when to be sweet and when to be silly, when to listen and when to lead. My children are much better people for having them in their lives
And then there is this guy- my baby brother, Chris. In a few weeks, we will welcome his son, my nephew into the world. While it looks like he still has a lot to learn (#1, we don't eat our young), I have every confidence that he is going to be an amazing father. I cannot wait to behold that mushy- dazed- infatuated- new- father look that he will most certainly have when cradling his new son in his arms. It sets my heart a flutter.
Happy Father's Day!