Monday, June 20, 2011

Good Men


"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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!


8 comments:

  1. this is a post filled with all of the textures of love. i love you catherine. xox

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  2. Blogger hates me and won't let me comment on any of your posts. So I'll try the anonymous route. This was a lovely post. And I read your Segullah article as well. Your writing is so beautiful it's like reading poetry. I am in awe.

    And, as long as I'm commenting, I think the twin/mirror problem is the cutest thing ever!

    Bonnie

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  3. Love you too Cristie.

    Bonnie - Seriously? Why is blogger wigging out lately? Anyone else having trouble leaving comments? Hope the house-building is going smoothly Bonnie!

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  4. I adore those pictures from Poppa Jim's royal evening. What a treat for him! I love the pic of the girls around him.

    Your husband's arms are full of two darling, darling guys.

    I really appreciate your sensitive heart as you write. Thank you for your kind awareness of so many's feelings. Writing about good men is desperately needed. There is far too much "anti-male" mentality in the media. I especially thought of this when I stumbled on a magazine post entitled "The End of Men" which had clearly been read by thousands and thousands of people.

    I have thought of your Segullah post often and the comments that followed from so many whose hearts had been broken. I really appreciated Michelle's post too. Thinking on my own experience, I can honestly say the following: No matter how diseased our family tree is, there is always hope in forgivness and change and swallowing up the bitterness so we can pass on something different to our kids and their kids and so on.

    What a blessing a good husband/father is in this world! Here's to raising good ones and raising daughters who know how to have high expectations for men.

    I just checked out Walden from the library. I'll let you know some of my thoughts as I get to it. Hope you have a great one, Cath!

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  5. Cath, I came back to delete my comment, but Blogger will not let me. I realized that the way I wrote the comment, something different could be implied than I meant for it to be.

    When I was talking about a diseased family tree, I was referring to mine...the one ravaged by abuse and alcoholism and to those of the women who had commented over at Segullah about their own heartbreaks. So sorry if it came across any other way! I tend to overanalyze things sometimes and then be in a muddle about my words' meanings!

    Thank you for sharing pictures of two sweet, good, radiant men you have in your life.

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  6. Anne Marie - I immediately understood your comment about the "diseased family tree." Such a tender response. You have the most pure heart. Thanks for your additional comment and clarification. I agree. "There is far too much "anti-male" mentality in the media." I just skimmed the End of Men article and tagged it for later reading. Really interesting. And here-here to raising good children and having expectations. Please let me know how you come to Walden this time. You've read it before, yes?

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  7. ps Anne Marie - Thank you for this wonderful statement: "there is always hope in forgivness and change and swallowing up the bitterness so we can pass on something different to our kids and their kids and so on."

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  8. Reading your post and the other beautiful comments makes me envious of you, your spouse, your fathers and others. However, I love that you have such an amazing man as your husband and two wonderful fathers in your life. You are such an amazing person Cath and I love reading about your thoughts and inspiration. I hope one day I am able to see things as you do :)

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