It has been a while since I posted. Three of my oldest children are now gainfully employed, but not yet driving… which keeps Mom’s Taxi Service in constant swing. Baby is trying to walk and giving me more gray hairs, summer schooling has relaxed our schedule a little, at least school-wise- socially we are going and doing more than ever.
Today, though, I was thinking about my hero and the difference that he has made. Not just in our lives, but in the lives of countless others. He exemplifies the selfless leader to his core. His Marines knew that he was tough, but fair; he had to bust one for bad conduct, but he was also that Marine’s advocate. With his friends, they all know that he is as faithful and dependable as the day is long. If you need something, he will be there. His co-workers can trust that he will pull his weight on his shift and then some, making sure that the shift following him is taken care of too. Everyone that knows him understands that he is a man of his word- his work ethic is second to none- and he makes THE best hamburgers. Ever.
I don’t know how a man like this ended up in my life, but I am so very thankful. Because he just lives, and leads, and our boys are watching. They see him go to work tired, and come home more tired, but with a smile on his face- providing for the family that he loves. They are learning to take care of others first by watching their dad. They see him make crazy science projects with them (they just made a vortex cannon that shoots smoke rings out of a paper drum and bungee cords). They are learning to be creative and that school doesn’t have to be boring! They see him treat me with more love and respect than I deserve- and they are learning the secret to a happy, healthy marriage.
The most dramatic thing I have observed over the past three years is the difference in my blue eyed boys. The father in their lives before was an angry, impossible-to-please figure. They modeled that behavior on varying levels, according to their age and maturity. But this past month, I realized that they are modeling a different set of behaviors. My thirteen year old blue eyed boy is serving the family by doing his chores just because it is his job- not because I hound him or because he will be punished, but because that is what he is supposed to do. Wonder where he gets that? My eleven year old blue eyed boy is fascinated by science and how things work. Looks an awful lot like someone I know and respect. My eight year old blue eyed boy wants nothing more than to be a Marine when he grows up. And that little guy can work harder and longer than his big brothers, he is just limited by his size. Again, modeling what he sees in his daddy.
Men, please never underestimate your worth to your family. The weight of your position is impossible to gauge. Moms get lots of recognition and gifts and attention on Mother’s Day, and sometimes it feels like Father’s Day is an afterthought. But the family unit was designed to be led by a team; neither half more valuable than the other, but one half bearing the weight of leadership, and the other the burden of nurturing and managing. The head and the heart. Ever notice that both of those are things you can’t do without? You don’t live long without either one. And for those of us who have done or are doing both jobs by ourselves- there is special grace. I think that God makes special provision for circumstances that are less than ideal, and for that I am thankful. But having been both mom and dad for a while, I see even more clearly how vital the dad’s role is in our home. As a single mom, I knew that I couldn’t teach my boys how to be men. That is a skill set that only comes from watching and observing and participating… with men. My hero is exactly that- a hero- to me and to our boys, because he leads our home by example. He is harder on himself than on anyone else, and serves and gives better than anyone else. That servant leadership is what enables him to leap tall buildings in a single bound, at least in our eyes.
Today is Father’s Day. One day out of the hundreds every year that these selfless men quietly and unassumingly go about the enormous task of saving the world- one family at a time. May your service and your sacrifice- and your incredible importance- never be taken for granted. Thank you for everything you do.