Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dad: A Good Choice

Heroes, 1983

Forty years ago I chose the father of my children.

Of course I didn't know then what I know now. I chose him because he was cute and funny and he thought I was cute and funny, too. He listened to my rambles and understood what I meant. We dreamed the same dreams and saw the world through the same lens. As far as parenting skills, I assumed he'd contribute curly hair and brown eyes . . . hey, enough for me!

I know a lot of moms who undervalue dads. We women have a superiority complex that lets us think that we do it all, all alone, all the time—and we're pretty good at moaning about it. While there are some awesome single parents (moms and dads) who have that challenge, I'm very blessed to be only half of a team. Here are some elements my other half supplied, one for each year he's been a dad. (I could have listed zillions more.)

Their dad did this with our kids:
  1. Made bird feeders during Morning Friends (5-7 a.m. activity time for human early-birds.)
  2. Constructed a cardboard model of a cathedral.
  3. Taught coin collecting, stamp collecting, anything collecting.
  4. Made real oatmeal for breakfast every day, whether they liked it or not.
  5. Found out what they wanted to do, and encouraged them to do it.
  6. Surrounded them with books; always went to parent teacher conferences.
  7. Made grilled cheese for lunch every Sunday.
  8. Held Wunsch Conzerts (classical music turned up full blast Sunday mornings.)
  9. Became a builder so they could have a house.
  10. Tossed jelly bean prizes for Scripture Chases on Family Night.
  11. Featured them in hundreds of photos.
  12. Sold his photo equipment to buy them stuff.
  13. Taught them it was fun to clean the garage, water the lawn, and shovel the snow.
  14. Took them to a potato chip factory,
  15. A cheese factory,
  16. The train yards,
  17. A train museum, gun museum, army museum, every museum.
  18. Picked them up from school when they were sick.
  19. Paid for broken arms, collar bones, surgeries and fillings.
  20. Attended their dance recitals, choir concerts, plays, games and meets.
  21. Sold his collections to pay for dance, piano, gymnastics, violin and clarinet lessons.
  22. Didn't burden them with adult worries.
  23. Gave them each a year abroad.
  24. Read all the historical markers on the side of the road.
  25. Emptied the dishwasher, ironed his shirts, did the laundry and let them see.
  26. Drove a no-frills car so they could have one.
  27. Dried their shoes, polished their shoes, trimmed their toenails, treated their athlete's foot.
  28. Took them to the fish hatchery so they'd be sure to catch something.
  29. With asthmatic lungs, ran the field as a soccer coach,
  30. And little league coach; took them tobogganing, golfing, and shooting.
  31. Lived when he could have died a few times.
  32. Was the school's first room-father,
  33. The troop's first den-father,
  34. Went to scout camps, winter camps,
  35. Girls camps.
  36. Let them rebuild a pioneer cabin.
  37. Made them the center of his life.
  38. Loved their mother.
I am in awe of good fathers. It's interesting: I wanted to find a good quote to use in this post yet most of the ones I found were condescending or sarcastic. Isn't that sad? Many women who have been disappointed by their own fathers or husbands assign the blame to men in general and seem to spread the word via men-bashing. This sets a low standard for boys, who then don't have much to live up to. Decent dads, who take responsibility, work to support a family physically, spiritually and emotionally, and who set an example of dependability, contribute goodness to the world.

I chose wisely.

Dee and Marta at the zoo


Anonymous said...

I wish I'd had a father like this.

kenju said...

I had a dad like that too, and I wish my grandkids dad had been like him.

THANKS for changing so that I could comment!!

Jake said...

Thank you for picking such a great dad for me! I wish I'd inherited his curly hair and brown(!?) eyes. Happy Father's Day, Opa!


I love this post. Rich with memories and love. What say we have a swap here - you use the letter idea from my post and I will adapt your list as tribute idea - feels good to me.

Nichole said...

I found your blog somehow and I love this post. I once read a quote that went - "The best thing a father can do for his children, is to love their mother." Thank you.