I told you I would write about the importance of fathers and since my oldest child is out hunting with his grandfather and my youngest is spending some quality time with his cousins and his own father I think it’s the perfect time to talk about this. Dads–you are SO important to the children in your lives, the women and everyone else. You carry some pretty heavy loads and play key roles in little lives and big lives.
I will start with my father and the relationship that I have with him. He is somewhat newly retired from the United States Postal Service. He spent many years delivering mail and created quite a rapport with his customers and coworkers. I spent a brief amount of time considering going into the Postal Service simply because of the cookies and gifts that man received every Christmas. When I was told that wasn’t always the norm I chose to take a different path. My father and I have always had a close relationship. He is a guys guy and he loves sports. He was a star athlete in his high school growing up. He even held the school record for 20+ years for making the most points in one basketball game. As a youngster he must have seen some athletic ability in me and created a girl who loved lots of sports. OUR sport was softball. We connected on that. He would cart me to private lessons. We’d do a pitching school. He would drag my teenage ass to the softball field all summer long and make me pitch and bat. At the time, I was a 16-17 year old girl who was more interested in my friends and boys than going to the field on a hot summer day, BUT I did because if I didn’t I would hear about it. Looking back on it now, I think it was not only to get me better at the sport, but probably for him as a father, it was his way to spend some one on one time with me. I appreciate that so much more now than I did then. There are lots of things I appreciate more now because I might be a little wiser and also because I am a parent and see how fast times flying and how the relationship between parent and child becomes a little more “distant.” I guess you just get to a point where its hard to connect, and for him, softball and sports was connecting him to me. Today he has a very strong relationship with not only me, but my BOYS. That man was the most excited person on the planet when he found out he was going to have grandson’s. I know he internally was hoping for at least one of my children to be a boy. I gave him two. Brady and Brett love Poppie. They LOVE summer because in the summer they get to play basketball with Poppie. Their games are intense. My poor 65 year old father is double-teamed by both boys, because of course it is always them against him. He plays with as much heart as those two kids. He is exhausted by the end of summer and probably thankful that the colder weather has arrived. My father has taught me many lessons in life. Kindness. Strength. Compassion. Work Hard. Laugh. Live. He is helping me teach those lessons to my own little men. I would not be disappointed if they turned out to be just like their Poppie.
My ex husband is a very important person in my life. He is my boy’s father. He is a piece of them and I see a lot of him in them. The relationship that he now has with the boys is a strong one. We have all been through a lot and overcome a lot of obstacles but my kids love him to pieces. I appreciate fatherhood because it is such an important part to a child’s life. The role a father plays is instrumental in children. When you have two boys, Dad is REALLY important. I can only relate to a certain degree. I related much easier when they were picking their nose, going to the bathroom in diapers and having nightmares over scary monsters. We have reached a whole new level of boyhood. Puberty is coming and Daddy is going to be the point person for that. His role is pretty solid when it comes to certain aspects and quite frankly, Mom is just going to be support. Not that I am going to leave my kid high and dry, but there are just some things that are designated topics per parent. My Mom dealt with the “period talk.” My Dad definitely did not want anything to do with that conversation. Both my boys rely on their father for a lot of the same things many kids rely on their Dad’s for. Security and safety is probably the most important one. Dad’s are protective shields against the scary things in the world. They make you feel safe. They make you feel comfortable in a somewhat sketchy situation. They probably don’t even realize it. You guys are safeguards and I hope you know that. You make the world a better place. Just because my marriage didn’t work doesn’t really mean I don’t recognize the importance that my exes relationship with our kids means. They hunt. I am not really a hunting advocate only because I am a total softy. The boys were each given lifetime hunting licenses when they were born so basically they have been hunters their whole life. It is just something I have accepted because they LOVE it. Obviously they can’t shoot anything but I have succumbed to the fact that they will be hunters. It is in their blood. It is also something they can do with their Dad and Grandpa. THAT is what I appreciate. My father plays hoops, my ex and his father hunt with the boys. Two totally different ways of spending time together but great one’s. Dad’s and Grandpa’s are supposed to be role models. They are the predecessors to a young man’s life. They instill courage and strength and wisdom. They are supposed to show young men the right way to treat a lady. They are supposed to show a young boy how to defend himself and how to stand up for himself. They show their daughters lots of love and kindness and gentleness. They are a total package. My dad is a guys guy, but he figured out how to raise two girly girls.
You are all important to all of us. I couldn’t do half of what I do without the men in my life. Good or bad, we make it through every day and hopefully appreciate each other for the roles we play in our lives. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows, but it definitely takes a village to raise kids. That village is sure to have a tribe of men in it. From a mom–thank you and we love you.