"A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty." - Unknown
Doug is a wealthy man. If he is home, his arms are anything but empty. And it's a good thing the kids count, because we didn't really shine in the gift arena this year.
Does anyone else have a hard time buying for Daddy?
He never asks for anything.
He could have used a wardrobe enhancement, particularly a few extra white shirts. A road bike is up there on the list. But shouting most loudly (at me) is a trade-in of the 1995 Nissan Pathfinder he's driving. (Note: he has never complained about said vehicle.) It screeches like a cat getting it's tail stepped on every time he turns the ignition. The radio is bashed in. (I think it might still work if you hold the power button down at just the right angle for several seconds.) The windows don't roll up on their own and both step-rails have rusted off completely.
Eliza told me she is saving her money to buy Doug a new car. So we wrote it on her ledger of wages. "Saving... A New Car for Daddy. $30,000."
Maybe another Father's Day? When Eliza's employer can pony up a bit more cash.
It rained all day on Father's Day. I heard it in the early morning before anyone was rustling covers. I watched it puddle in the flower beds as we (girls) gathered in the kitchen to make Doug his favorite breakfast. We braved the tipping skies on our way to church. I listened to it clap thunder and shake windows during lessons. And in the late afternoon, after opening dollar-presents from Target, Doug hoisted both boys to his hips and the girls toted umbrellas outside for a picture.
We had a lovely family dinner at my parents' home then ducked out to visit with Doug's parents.
Last year, after living away from family for so many years, we decided what we really wanted to give our Dads was a memory. So we decided to crown them "King for the Evening."
The girls handed each Grandpa a scroll requesting some basic information. Favorite main course and side dishes, favorite dessert, favorite beverage, favorite music, favorite games. We were a little late (okay like a whole year late) on the follow-through, but on Friday we had Doug's parents over for Poppa Jim's royal evening.
Ali made the crown all by herself.
Hand-made notes and gifts surrounded his special plate. And piled high were a few of his favorite foods.
The girls had the best time decorating - especially tying ribbons and beads to his chair. We played his favorite games after dinner and listened to some of his favorite classical composers. It was good to tell our children more about their grandpa - what he loves, and why.
Considering the discussion surrounding this post, I have been sensitive lately to the fact that I have good men in my life. I know enough women who are hurting, feeling abandoned, or simply emptied by the loss of a father or husband, I cannot ignore their impact. I'm not one to spout Sigmund Freud very often but I do think he had it right when he said, "I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection."
The value of a good man cannot be overlooked.
I urge you to read this beautiful post by my friend, Michelle. She interviewed several fathers and their daughters for an article that ran in the Mormon Times last week. If anyone can speak to loss, it is her, but you will be moved by her optimism and photos.
She writes, "I now understand the prompting to write this piece --- God was telling me, 'Look at these men, look at their nature, the way they love their children. They are a reflection of Me; this is the love I have for you.'"
I'm so grateful for Doug. If our children glean anything truly good and real from our family, it will be from him. His low-profile, honest, and devoted ways make him the kind of Dad our children need. His actions quietly tell our girls that good men exist and they are worth finding. His softness and strength tell our boys that being true is more important than being right. He is teaching them that success is being a loving Father and that life's purest joys are found in family.
I love him.
And all the good men who are a part of my life.
Happy Father's Day!