Yes, I had one. But, then again, I didn’t really. Not one like the father’s I’d seen on TV. Or in my friend’s homes. Mine was the difficult kind. The kind you watched yourself carefully around. The kind you hid from your friends.
And so I grew up without one, even though he was right there in my own home. I avoided him. His anger. His apparent disapproval of me for as long as I can remember. But, I didn’t need him. In fact, I didn’t see the point in him. In having someone in your life who just made you feel . . . worthless. I wasn’t worthless. That much I knew.
And it seemed that I wasn’t the only one. Television began to change, and fathers on my favorite programs seemed more real than those I’d watched in black and white. They leaned on their wives for the answers, instead of leading with their own. They became the butt of their own children’s jokes, while occasionally saying something useful. In many ways, I saw—and understood—that my theories on fatherhood were right: it was a nice thing to have, but not really necessary.
Until I had kids.
I was completely unprepared for the way my husband would father my children. For the sight of a man cuddling an infant. For the camaraderie, and silliness that a dad could bring to their sometimes-too-serious mother. I was unprepared for how much my children would love him.
And, of course, I wanted them to. I wanted more for them than what I had. I just didn’t believe it existed in real life.
As the years have passed and my husband’s relationship with my kids has changed, I’ve come to understand that it’s not only one of the most important relationships of their lives, but pivotal to their relationship with their heavenly Father.
And while I can mother them with all my might, teaching them, loving them, and even mending their hearts, there is no one that can serve as a better example of the love and acceptance that Jesus offers, than their own father.
I missed out on that. And, I never knew that I should feel that way, until I began to see it in my children’s eyes. But, I don’t bemoan the loss. I’m grateful for the vision God has given me. The sight of my kids coming to my husband, knowing they are accepted and loved no matter what. The sound of their laughter as he plays with them. The pure joy on their faces when he holds them. That is what a father is for. And that is why they are life changing in a child’s life.
And so, this father’s day, I want to thank all the men out there who’ve chosen to be fathers. Not in the physical sense, because let’s face it, that’s the easy part. But, in the real sense. The ones who stick around, and stick through when it gets hard. The ones who fight societies negative image of fathers, and push to create their own instead. The ones who love unconditionally, because they are loved unconditionally. The ones like my husband. I get it now. And for that, I thank God.
We’re talking about fathers over at Moms Together on facebook today. And, there’s a giveaway! Stop by to get in the conversation and a chance to win!