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The man is a daddy

I wrote the following essay for Father’s Day, 1999.

1999!

We had two kids and it was my husband’s second Father’s Day. Even then, I recognized what an exceptional daddy we had on our hands and in our hearts. Today, he celebrates his 15th Father’s Day and has eight kiddos with another on the way.

He is beyond a father. He did not merely cause the child into existence. The man is a daddy, a romping playing rolling cuddling singing and running daddy. He goes to work, where he toils earnestly and honestly for a paycheck. Then he comes home to more work. He toils without complaint as he bathes, fees, entertains, and teaches his little ones. He is a daddy, and he is wherever his children need for him to be.

Before his children can write, even before they can wrap their tiny tongues around language and expression, they compose love letters to him. They thank him in their own sheer sweet way.

His daughter, just embarking on her third year, throws her skinny little arms around his neck and converts him into her home gym. She takes his face in her hands and tells him that he is her “little rascal.”

His son, bright and shining in his infancy, wiggles and babbles with joy when daddy is around. He is earnest and wide-eyed with joy, his big blue eyes gather his daddy into him.

His children burst and bubble and glow when he is near. They take him seriously and they never question his love for them. They are the children of a man who is beyond a father.

Songs come easily to him, and so does laughter. Jokes and tall tales, excursions to the playground, macaroni and cheese lunches, and the occasional story from when he was a little boy are gifts he gives to his children.

He also gives them the gifts of discipline and responsibility. The children are expected to help when they can and they are expected to do as they are told. A daddy miraculously makes the mundane seem exciting, however. Doing the dishes becomes a submarine adventure. He points out the colors in the bubbles. He makes a soapy mess that drips onto the floor. He cleans it all up, with a toddler’s expert help and a requisite sense of humor.

A grateful mommy watches it all in wonder. I am a grateful mommy. A blessed mommy. A lucky wife.

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