Never had I felt so helpless. But, never have I felt so relieved. My daughter was a newborn with colic. Our family lived away and my husband and I were on our own, learning how to care for this tiny baby girl. But, she wouldn’t stop crying. Holding her was about the only thing that would do the trick, and that wasn’t always reliable. It was in those early weeks that my husband embodied ‘hero.’ He came home during his lunch hour every single day just to give me a few minutes break. Those precious moments I used to shower and regain my composure for our afternoon.
My hero- our hero. The tears of relief I cried when he would walk in! But he wasn’t just another physical body to hold our daughter and tend to her needs, he brought with him so much more. His presence ushered in peace. It was so tangible, even McKaela would notice. The entire environment would shift when he arrived. He was calm, strong, unmoved. He saved so many of my days from becoming a disaster.
Before I would hurry off for my few minutes to tend to my physical and emotional needs, I would watch him coo, rock, swing and gush all his love on our little girl. It was oozing onto me too. Those weeks were some of the most trying I had experienced to date, but they were also filled with amazement. I watched my husband take up the mantle of fatherhood, walk into deeper places of love, and sacrifice more than he had ever been asked.
“If human love does not carry a man beyond himself, it is not love. If love is always discreet, always wise, always sensible and calculating, never carried beyond itself, it is not love at all. It may be affection, it may be warmth of feeling, but it has not the true nature of love in it.”
― Meg Meeker, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know
Love is beautiful, connecting and pure.
Dads have a remarkable opportunity to be a physical expression of God’s love for us, His children. There is no other earthly role that resembles this connection more closely. When a father chooses to step into that responsibility and allow the purity of love to flow out, it is beautiful.
But interestingly, sometimes Dads are displaying, even screaming love through their actions, but we don’t see it. Sometimes they are loving big, deep, and creatively, but their spouse is blinded.
Not all dads father the same way. Not all dads will do it like your Father did or like you envisioned.
Many times I have run errands on a Saturday morning, returned home at noon to find my husband and daughter still in pajamas with dirty dishes in the sink and toys all over the floor. Everything in me wants to groan, “What have you been doing?” And the times I have, the response was, “Playing.”
My husband doesn’t follow my guidebook for fathering. He does it his way. And you know what? It is beautiful.
Many dads are loving, giving, investing and pulling out gifts in our kids, but because it looks different from mothering, it goes unnoticed. Let’s start recognizing and valuing what Dads are doing, even when it doesn’t fit the routine, rubs us wrong or colors outside our pristine lines.
In a recent conversation with my husband about family values and practices, he posed 1 question to me. Could I allow him to father authentically, from what he has to give? Essentially, could I trust him to invest in our kids the best way that he knows and be satisfied with that? Could I truly value what he has to give?
Are we out to make our husbands “father of the year”? Or, are we set on becoming their biggest fan? Can we celebrate the richness of their love, expressed with their own unique style? Even if it means cleaning up yet another mess?
No father parents the same way. They each have their own style, their own experiences, their own intuition. But as I have discovered, they father with the most confidence when we surrender expectations and celebrate their authentic father flare.
Dads love just as deeply as moms, but sometimes it looks different. Dads sacrifice, go above and beyond and show affection, but sometimes the picture clashes with our own.
Sometimes the way they love on our kids is so rich and tangible that it sloshes over and covers us as well. But many times, it looks different, creative and unique, requiring us moms to take a closer look.
When I walked into our home that day, I saw toys, mess, and chaos. Had I looked closer, I would have seen smiles, heard giggles and noticed my 2-year-old’s cheery disposition. She felt wrapped in love, because of her daddy.
Exactly what her Heavenly Father wanted her to experience.
Dad– We celebrate you this weekend. You don’t need to be anyone or do anything- just be authentically YOU.
TRUTH: The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.
Proverbs 20:7 (NKJV)