Fathers don’t get enough credit. There’s no “paternal instinct,” from birth. No hormonal or physical preparation that occurs while a man awaits the arrival of his child. A father must simply be thrown in to parenting, in that sudden and overwhelming moment of his child’s birth, ghostly florescent lights and stark hospital walls, casting their harsh glances at him, waiting for him to “become a father.” It’s a hard way to start parenthood, but I hear it’s worth it.
And that’s the thing, too: I have heard that fatherhood is worth it.
Because I’ve heard on several occasions that I was worth it. My own father made a point to tell me.
It wasn’t always with words, because speaking can sometimes be less impactful than acting—a concept that men seem to understand well.
No, it was in his choice to come home to my mother every night; not out of obligation, but out of crazy, “how-did-I-get-so-lucky,” deep and committed love. It was in his prayers for me, his kisses goodnight and good morning (and all the times in between), his random acts of kindness, his tree house building skills, and his time spent at my eye-level. I knew I was worth it, when he chose to get up, daily, shine his shoes and fasten a tie to provide for our family. More than that, he provided over and above what we ever needed, and he did so happily. He continues to. And for that, I am thankful.
There is, quite literally, no one like you. Through my 23 years as your daughter I have watched countless friends and strangers alike, light up in your company. The words (sometimes shaped into hilarious songs) that leave your mouth are a constant source of weightlessness and laughter to so many people, and I hope you know that. You are human. You admit mistakes, fix problems, love others with actions and words. And despite the changing and challenging world we live in, Jesus is still your standard. I have watched your journey down the narrow path of life, and although I may have put up quite the fight in my younger years, I am truly thankful for your leadership in our family. Thank you for being amused and not swayed by the fact that “everyone else’s parents are letting them…” Thank you for protecting me physically, emotionally and spiritually from the moment I was first placed in your arms. As Colt can now attest, that is no easy task.
I love you with a love that children have been trying to put into words since the beginning of time. It is my hope that through these sometimes small glimpses of love, you are able to see how much you matter; how respected you are in this family of ours. It is because of your integrity and prayerful partnership with mom, that I am who I am today.