Playing games, cooking out, and teaching sports are the typical fun things we envision as a father’s duties. But, really, there’s so much more to it than that. There are scraped knees, middle of the night illnesses, and impromptu tackle times. There’s the need for a head of the household- a good hearted leader. The all-encompassing job of a dad is a huge responsibility and great honor. This job entails the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s definitely not for the weak of spirit. Sometimes, the person that steps in to take on these duties is a boy’s “real” father, but sometimes, like with my little guy, there’s a whole village that becomes all the things necessary to raise him up in the way he should go. Sometimes, a parent has to double duty. Today, I am acknowledging a few of the folks that have filled our life with an abundance of grace and joy. Happy Father’s Day to all of you! Regardless of how unconventional or unexpected your place in his life may be, Charlie is one of the most blessed boys I know because of your existence!
When we sold our house, you helped us build a new home. When Charlie becomes a wild thing, you stand behind me and support me. When he’s sick, you ride in the backseat by his side with a cool rag and water en route to the doctor. You play superhero and researched the best cleats for kids. You and Charlie make the sweetest Mother’s Day gifts for me. All the times I need to go for a run or tutor, you gladly take on the caregiver role. Classroom and hospital hallways are made better when we skip down them with you. You make every moment with our C-Rex magical. I think there are more photos and videos of you with him engaging in shenanigans than anyone else…I could not do parenting without your advice and support. You loved my little blueberry when he was at his sickest point in life, and you stood by him (and me too!) without once wavering. Happy Father’s Day, Sam! You’re way more than an aunt and jester- you’re the perfect partner in crime and heart health cheerleader. Thank you for being everything we need whenever we need it (especially when it seems to defy possibility).
You give a solid supply of “cowboy candy” (aka beef jerky) to Charlie and an equally impressive amount of cookies. He has a healthy repertoire of skills on his Spiderman PS4 game thanks to your careful instruction. You take his rough and tumble play and tolerate his loud voice. You patiently explain to him how to bait a hook and how to maintain a garden. He thinks you’re invincible and loves the home you and Tuh Tuh have created. Each time we read his action bible and visit your church, I thank God for your leadership and faith. Though you and Sam do not yet have your own child, I am 100% confident you two will be the best sort of parents. I’ve seen ya’ll work your magic with my little monster. Thank you, Uncle Jimmy, for being you! A thousand Dr. Peppers could never repay what you mean to Charlie, and for that, we wish you a Happy Father’s Day!
His first laugh happened while you read him a book. Though I originally wished it would have been with me (hmph!), I cannot imagine a more fitting person to elicit his first chuckle. You bought his first baseball, you drew him his first sketch, you let him climb on you anytime the need arises. You remember his each and every milestone and celebration. Your chill personality and ability to make anyplace a playground makes you the best playmate a boy could ask for. I wouldn’t trade any moment of food tossing at restaurants for all the money in the world. Your love is priceless. Uncle Batman, you’re the best in the southwest, and I couldn’t imagine Father’s Day (or any day) without you!
My stomach clenched at the thought of being a single mom at the ball park. What would Charlie do witnessing other kids with their dads?! How would he feel being one of the few without a knowledgeable guy to show him the ropes?! How silly of me to not know better…time and time again, God delivers and fills any void. Right on cue, there was a need for an assistant coach, and there you were! Looking back at you teaching and cheering at all of his practices AND games, I cannot possibly think why I was worried. It turns out, Charlie never missed out on anything. Thanks PawPaw, for making this season one for the records! I know Charlie and I can navigate our new home because we have a first responder on call right behind us.
You signed him up for t-ball, funded his gear for the season, and supplied at least ten good tips on the art of baseball. Because of you, Charlie’s closet and toy box are overflowing. Each time life happens, I know you’re a phone call away. Our four new tires are a testament to your care, and I know you understand the time I initially refused to ask or accept any form of assistance. Thank you for helping me see that when it’s for Charlie, I can, and should, take the help. It’s always good to let go of pride and hang onto peace. Happy Father’s Day, Grandpa! Our ride is smoother thanks to you.
Happy Father’s Day to the one that strengthens leg muscles and arm muscles to lift Charlie on strong shoulders. To the one that gets on knees to pray for his bold little heart- may it beat bravely and kindly for a long time! For all of the times a comfort zone is abandoned while basketballs are dribbled and bases are ran all for a little MVP, thank you. For navigating intensive care units as a single parent, and standing tall with no man to stand by your side…be grateful for letting God fill the space. How amazing is it to double up and become everything you thought you could never be? How magical that the most nonathletic and non-outdoorsy person on earth now spends more time outside than in, cheers on the Astros, and runs like the wind beside a beautiful boy? Together, we hunt frogs, take care of the yard and face the world on prayers and hope. All because, sometimes, a mother can do the same (or even better) than a father. All because, God can help a single parent soar where she was left to fly solo. I wouldn’t take anything for my journey now. Happiest Father’s Day to me!
Whenever I wonder (especially on days like Father’s Day), “Who is supposed to help me raise this beautiful boy?!” I smile, and I know. The answer is lovely: everyone. Every single person God puts on our path is here to help us. Someday, Charlie will meet the man that becomes his stepdad. Someday, his dad may even step up. However, in this day, we are celebrating those that are here with him in this moment. My little wall climbing, snocone eating, bug catching boy is living his best life because of the love given by so many! Happy Father’s Day to all the people that are fathers by choice and become someone they don’t have to be for a child in need. Happy Father’s Day to the men and women parenting on their own. The world is a better place because of you!
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6