Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Father's Day (Although You're Not My Father)

The men in my life
Over the course of twenty-eight (and a half) years of marriage, it is inevitable that Husband would make a couple of statements that he wishes he could retract. One of these was less than a statement and more of an action (or inaction) regarding a certain antique library table that his wife may or may not have indicated telepathically she really wanted to buy but didn't use her words to say so until they were a couple hours down the road, at which point those words became the last spoken for many, many uncomfortable miles.

The other took place before church on Boy#1's second Mother's Day when a friend leaned over to coo to our toddler, "So, did Daddy help you get something for Mommy for Mother's Day?" The unfortunate response from my knight in shining armor was "Why? She's not MY mother."

Oh. My. Gosh.

I was in the sleep-deprived throes of Boy#2's babyhood, frazzled and smelling like spit-up and dragging a diaper bag that weighed as much as the baby, so I couldn't do more than gape at him in disbelief. Still, you must agree that any woman judge in the world would have considered his immediate demise justifiable homicide.

It took me at least a decade before I could laugh at this story, and another decade or so to tell it with the fond affection of a family legend. By then I realized that (to give in to sappiness) my Mother's Day rolled around every time I recognized that I had married an exceptionally fine father.

When he held my hand and handed me a Kleenex the first time we left Boy#1 at daycare. When he slowed his normal brisk walking pace to accommodate the two toddlers whose hands he was holding. When he calmly taught our beginning drivers to look left-right-left before entering an intersection, and took them to the high school parking lot to practice steering into an icy skid. When he held his ground on the "no cell phones until you're 16" rule. When he demonstrated, day after day after day, how to be an exceptionally fine husband.

We didn't do much to note Father's Day in the House on the Corner. Boy#2 was home from graduate school for a few days, and helped Husband with a garage roof project that had them climbing up and down ladders until their knees ached. Boy#4 made his bed without being reminded and walked the dog without being asked. Boy#1 called to let his dad know he had a good time on a trip to the nation's capital, and Boy#3 took a nap after working two weeks without a day off. All of them have learned how to live as good men by following his example.

He's an exceptionally good father, and the love and respect that bounces between him and his grown sons is a Mother's Day gift every day of the year.

Happy Father's Day, Husband. I'm glad I was too tired to murder you.


  1. "I'm glad I was too tired to murder you" is a greeting card I would BUY.

  2. Oh I agree... That is a great line!

  3. Terrific post. There are lots of great stages to enjoy your kids and I think young adulthood is one of the best kept secrets. You can engage them in great conversation, exchange ideas, laugh with them, love 'em, then send them home. Sort of like grand kids but no diapers.