He fastens his helmet, hops on his bike, and takes off with our nine-year-old girl who has just discovered her love of bike riding. This, after spending an afternoon at the pool with the eleven and nine-year-old girls at a school’s out pool party hosted by a local radio station.
Of course, it’s not all bike rides and pool parties. Earlier in the day, accusations of being a tyrant and exercising a reign of terror were hurled by a different child as the apps on an iPod were deactivated for a few hours to give space for other activities.
He is a good dad.
He takes time to connect with and guide adult children while being in the moment with the younger ones. He works hard every day to care for those in this house, risking imperfect fathering with just doing.
His turn-around time is slow. He admits that.
Household projects, while in progress, often lie dormant so that a heart can be cared for, a cuddle read, a bike ride taken, a phone-call made. He puts his people before projects, which means that there are always works in progress. Always projects calling.
The upstairs room, the porch, the bathroom, the basement, the boxes, all of these and more clamor for his attention.
He hears the children first.
Yes, imperfectly. No, not always well.
With a heart that is humble and open, he seeks to better his fathering skills and grieves where they have been lacking. I have sat with him in that grief. We have grieved together.
I am thankful for my children’s father and for how he has taken on the task of fathering eight plus one. I am grateful that he chooses to show up fully, even when fully means messily and wrong. Because then he apologizes and models humility and helps us to learn forgiveness.
Once upon a time, there was a young man who wanted a big family. I think he thought he would be getting a fan club. It didn’t quite work out that way.
The way it did work is that eight children have taught him a thing or two about himself and have helped him to grow into the amazing man that he is. The one that I am blessed to call the father of my children.
Happy Father’s Day, Steve!