03 November 2011
A Season of Thanks: Day 3
I learned what I wanted in a husband by watching my dad.
When I was little, I didn't always realize how much I would treasure my dad when I got older, but I always had a tender place in my heart for him.
My dad is gentle. I can't remember him ever spanking me. I never heard the words, "Wait until your dad gets home!" My dad bought us Valentine's Day gifts and still does. My dad tears up when he tells me he loves me, even still. My dad will still let me snuggle up next to him on the couch and put his arm around me.
My dad is smart. He came through school at a time when kids were labeled, and he didn't get labeled as "smart." Books are not his favorite thing, but my dad can figure out a complex problem in his head and put together the tools to solve it. He knows how to fix everything from a carburetor to a necklace. He taught me to do simple algebra when I was in grade school. He just "gets" things in this world like no one I've ever really known.
My dad is handsome. He defines the old phrase, "Tall, dark, and handsome." Dark brown hair, brown eyes, skin that is soft and tans easily, lanky, and strong. When people tell me I look like him, I smile. I'm honored to carry his genetics.
My dad is fun! When you first meet him, you'd never know it. He comes across as reserved and quiet. But the stories I could tell (and won't dad, don't panic!) of things he's done in my lifetime. At almost 62 years old my dad can waterski and wakeboard better than "the kids." He puts us all to shame! When he chooses to relax, he can make you laugh like you didn't realize you needed to laugh. His sense of humor is dry and subtle - the best kind - the kind you have to pay attention to notice.
My dad is faithful. It goes without saying that I admire his faithfulness to my mom. But my dad is faithful in everything he does. He worked a job he didn't love for (seemingly) forever because that was what you were supposed to do. It was his job to get up and go there every day; he never looked for anything else - he just did it. He is in church every Sunday, at every work day, drives the bus every month, and will get out in the freezing cold at the crack of dawn to help "a little old lady" with something she needs at her home. He'll drive 300 miles to see his girls or his grandkids for just a few hours. He's there when I preach. He was there when Finley was born. Having my dad walk me down the aisle and kiss my soon-to-be husband on the cheek was significant in more ways than I can articulate. It spoke not only of his love for me, but of his commitment to love us both. It was a visual picture of how much my life has been shaped by him to live with Chris. My dad molded me into the perfect wife for Chris.
It goes without saying that my dad has struggled in his life. He lost his own dad at 56 years old, very suddenly. He is the eldest in his family, and the only son, so he bears the sense that he has to take care of his mom. (If you read day one, you know she can take care of herself!) When his company went through a merger, he had a difficult decision to make. He has daughters who have done the best they could at times to make his life harder. He worries about money, about us, about mom, about Finley and Ella, about his mom, and probably all sorts of things he never speaks aloud. But he meets those challenges with a quiet strength like I've never known.
He is more than just my dad.
He's my daddy.
And he's a great one!
And now he's a great "Papa," too.
Finley and Ella love him, and it's clear that he loves them, too.
He seems determined to be an even better grandpa than he was a dad.
And that's going to be tough to beat!
Dad, thanks for teaching me how to live this life with a quiet strength that weathers every storm. And thanks for squeezing me tighter when the storms of life rage.
I love you more than I'll ever be able to tell you.