Friday, June 17, 2011

Ahhhh, So That's What A Father Is Supposed To Be...

I wasn't lucky enough to grow up with a father in my life.

As a result, "fathers" were a total mystery to me. The fathers of my friends seemed very nice but since I didn't have one, they made me a little nervous.

Years passed. I endured many questions during a time while single-parenting was an exception to the rule of family life and fought back tears through every Hallmark commercial that involved a daddy and his little girl.

What was this thing called "father?" I knew I was missing something but I wasn't sure exactly what.

Now I know.

The day it all began...with a newborn Tommy.

My husband became a father in 1985 with the birth of our first son, Tommy.

Six months later, without coaxing, he gave up a job he loved because it took him away from his boy.

The merchant marine who had dreamt of the sea since he was eight years old now had a different dream: to be home with his children every night. To watch them grow and be there to provide comfort and support every day.

And he did just that. Rushing home daily from a job 75 miles away, he coached them in sports and cheered at their games. He conversed with them at dinner, kissed them goodnight and gave them a sense of safety and security that has served them well as they grew, learning to navigate through a surly world.

He wrestled, listened, worried, hugged, counseled and understood. He was patient, kind, truthful and gentle. He knew when to stand back and when to leap into the fray. He fought the fight, salved the wounds and worked his way from "Daddy!" to "Hey, Dad!" with the love and respect of his sons.

And their mama.

He gave his boys what they needed to become confident, capable men. As a father, he set the bar high.

So, I wish my beloved husband Seth and all you fathers out there a very happy Father's Day this coming Sunday. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Fathers no longer make me nervous. I understand what they're supposed to do and who they're supposed to be.

It's made my sense of loss at not having grown up with one more acute and personal because I've seen what I missed.

And that has been a very good thing.


  1. i absolutely loved this blog post Susan. beautifully said.
    Happy Fathers Day to your lovely Seth!!

  2. Beautiful post Susan in honor of a really wonderful father!

    Happy Father's Day Seth!

  3. Beautiful. Thanks for reminding me to get something to honor my dad this weekend :)

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  5. Emma!! What a nice surprise--thanks for the comment and for stopping by! XOXO

  6. Thanks, Bee...I will tell Seth you said that!

  7. Get him something nice, Katie--he's a special daddy.

  8. What a beautiful article Susan.....your husband is a lucky man too.
    Not every wife would take the time to write her feelings down for all the world to see.
    You've given your boys a wonderful gift..... parents who love & respect each other and aren't afraid to show it!

  9. Donna, what a beautiful and generous observation--thank you so much.

  10. I agree with DonnaW.
    Happy Father's Day Seth xxx

  11. Thank you, Janet--I will forward your wishes for Father's Day. Is that celebrated in NZ?

  12. It is yes. But, not until September.

  13. You got me, Susan. I'm a blubbering idiot right now. I grew up with a Father, but not a dad. Just last week on Father's Day, he casually mentioned that he was never around to know if we exhibited the same type of behavior as my child (i.e. crazy and sassy). It made me sad to hear it, but it also lifted a weight off of me to hear him admit it.

    My husband had a father that denied he WAS his father, even after a blood test. We found out he died a few years ago from one of our neighbors when we moved into his old neighborhood.

    Just as "Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children", father should come in at a close second.

    My husband is that kind of father.

    And so is Seth.

    It's late, but happy father's day, Seth. You are a good man.

  14. Alicia! You and your lovely husband may not have lucked out in the father department but look what a lovely trip your family is....and despite having no role model, your husband is "that kind of father." No small feat.

    Thank you for your emotions, and your kind words. I hope you all enjoyed Father's Day.
    Hugs to you.