As I reflected on Father’s Day – on what characteristics embody a great father – I was struck by three things that are shared by the three fathers in my life. Three men I love deeply – my father, my father-in-law and my husband, father to my two children.
Patience is usually one of the first words that come to mind for my dad. He is always calm, patient and level-headed. He rarely raises his voice and always considers all the sides before making a decision; nicknamed “the judge” as a child. He taught me what patience should look like, even though I often struggle to live it out in my own life.
Patience might not be the first word to come to mind for my father-in-law or my husband, but they each have areas where they’re strong here. Watching my husband teach our little boy the fundamentals of baseball, practicing hitting and catching with him over and over and over. Happily wearing the bead necklace or rainbow loom bracelet made by our little girl. Or, my father-in-law patiently unhooking one stinging catfish after another as I kept catching them, but didn’t want to touch the fish myself.
I was raised to be independent, to not to be reliant on a man for support. I was encouraged to find a career that could support me. Learned to change a tire, to do basic house maintenance tasks, even take apart a sink to fix a clog. But, I still love that the men in my life are strong caretakers.
They all seem to know how to fix things – or at least put forth a valiant effort. They would drop everything to come to my rescue so I don’t have to put into practice that lesson on changing tires. They kill the bugs and rats because they know how much I hate those critters. And, I always feel secure when they’re around.
3) Love of Water
As I thought about my favorite memories of these three wonderful men, they all seem to center around the water.
My dad was an avid sailor and now still spends as much time as possible on the water fishing. Some of my most cherished childhood memories are of sailing with my dad. Learning how to catch the wind, to trim the sails, and complete a race when at the mercy of a power we never could fully predict.
My father-in-law is a boater and fisherman of a different sort. He lives on the Louisiana Gulf coast, so relies on a motor boat to get out through the channels and the marsh. He fishes for different types of fish, larger than what we ever caught in the lake back home. He taught me how to cast a big fishing pole and bring in some monster redfish and drum.
We don’t have much water where we live, so my husband is teaching the kids a different love of water. Simple childhood joys of fishing in local ponds, playing in the sprinklers and the joy of jumping the waves on our beach vacation last summer.
Happy Father’s Day to my men! I love you for how you love me and my children!