Friday, October 2, 2009

what he did right

What He Did Right…
From the Mom’s Point of View

As usual, our date was lasting longer than it should. I was sure my mother was about to flash the front door lights to warn me that I needed to come inside. I sat on the hood of David’s gray ’95 Ford Mustang with T-tops. He stood in front of me with his hands around my tiny waist as we talked about our future plans together. We discussed everything from past loves to children. I had no doubt David would be a great father, but I wasn’t sure he knew it.

David never really knew his father. He left the family when David was a very young child. Though he talked very little about it and seemed to not be affected by it, I realized one day about the time we were expecting our first child that David was haunted by a recurring thought. His eyes were moist as he posed the questions, “What if I can’t handle being a father? What if I want to leave, too?” There were so many qualities I admired about my husband, loyalty being among them. I knew he could never leave. David confronted his demons that day. I’ve never heard those questions since.

We’ve been married now for 18 years and have four amazing children. Those early years were tough. I was a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids under the age of 5. I never could have gotten through those sleep-deprived years without such a loyal, involved, loving father to my children. I treasured our date nights and those evenings when he’d watch the kids so I could meet up with a friend at the coffee house or the mall. He took our two little boys to watch high school football games on Friday nights so I could catch up on housework or enjoy the company of a friend, and he’d get up occasionally with the babies in the middle of the night so I could get the rest I needed to make it through the next day. Those little acts of selflessness kept me sane.

As our kids got old enough to play sports, David became more than their dad. He became their coach. Not only did he teach our kids the skills necessary for the sports they played, but he taught them teamwork and sportsmanship. He demonstrated his selflessness and loyalty once again by giving up some of his own recreational activities, including his beloved softball. He says it’s because he was getting too old to play, but I know he wouldn’t have missed this time in his children’s lives for anything.

Our kids are all in middle school and high school now. After years of arranging his schedule around a game or a recital, and after a career change and a move so our kids could get a better education, David continues to be a shining example of what a father should be. Our family is entering a new season of life together. As our kids approach dating age, David has resumed his dating life, too, with the mother of his children. And in so doing, our boys are learning to be respectful young men and our daughters are learning what they should expect from future boyfriends.

I was right all along. David has been a great father from day one. He overcame his doubts and fears about fatherhood and has been an inspiration for other men desiring to be great fathers themselves. He couldn’t change his past. He couldn’t trade in the hand he’d been dealt. But he made decisions each day to be the best he could be. After years of good decisions, David can be proud of the man, the husband and the father he’s become.

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