I had the pleasure of reading a blog this morning on the DoD “Family Matters Blog“. It left me inspired, thankful, even a little wistful. It reminds me of the fact that parenthood doesn’t involve any sort of manual. Mothers, Fathers, we learned from our parents and we follow our heart. I will be the first to admit I have been blessed with some great men in my life; in particular, my dad and my husband.
Dad is now a retired Air Force Colonel. 30-years in the service, he retired just as I announced I was pregnant with my first, *E*. Basically, all I knew as a child was the Air Force way of life. It was hard being a ‘brat’, I won’t kid you. We moved about every 2 1/2 years; a few places we had up to 4 years, a few less then 18 months. As a teenager, I went to three high school before I graduated; Florida, New York and Iceland. When I would feel most vulnerable, from early-childhood and beyond, I would turn to Dad. My mom and my relationship was very close, but there was something about turning to Dad with my troubles. I knew he would take the time to listen, and he might not have the answers but I just needed his arm around my shoulder. I needed his time when I felt so very insecure.
As we PCSed around the country, around the world, Dad would take leave and we would venture out as a family to get to know the community. We would go to the zoos, museums, parks, beaches, even foreign-lands in trains, planes & automobiles. Time as a family in a new ‘world’. It helped us settle us all. We enjoyed the adventure arm-in-arm as a family. Dad made sure it happened.
“In the Army we have manuals that tell us how to do just about everything,” Shinseki, noted. “But what we don’t have is a manual that tells you how to be a good father.” – Forum Supports Military Dads, Family Matters Blog
Hubs is an enlisted-Marine, turned Army National Guard JAG officer. Hubs has faced and triumphed over the growing challenge of being a single-Dad. *J* was born to his high-school sweetheart while Hubs was in college. There was never a wedding and the only life *J* has known is Mom and Dad as separate-entities. I met *J* when he was three, married his dad when he was 7 and he has grown to be one of my own children!
Hubs has always made a very special effort to be there for *J*. When *J* was younger Hubs would call him every night when he was at his mom’s to find out how his day was. It wasn’t always easy, after all a 4 … 5 … 6 year old’s phone skills can leave something to be desired. Hubs went on field-trips when he could. Helped him with homework, even over the phone at times, encouraged *J* to be everything that he is. Hubs has gone to court multiple-times to be sure that *J* stays in our lives as much as possible. A part-time dad that was there for him full-time!
Now *J* is taller then his dad, has his own driver’s license, a girlfriend and a strong-foundation for the life in front of him. He is growing up to be a very respectable, smart, although clearly a teenager, young man.
Hubs has two other sons that we obviously can’t forget, *E*, *C*. The absolute apples of his eye. They look forward to dad getting home every night, they look forward to him sitting with them and playing wii. Time with Dad is more precious than gold in their eyes! The boys have survived deployment; a year of missing their dad. Now that Dad is a back in his civilian clothes during the week they understand he works long hours. Even with ten to twelve hour days Hubs does everything he can to be home for dinner, and to tuck the boys into bed each night after bedtime books. Most nights there is time spent in the home office working between the dinner hour and bedtime, but there is also a huge bin of brio train tracks in there that the boys know they can go in and play with at any time.
Time: Hubs, no matter the circumstance, always has time for his boys. BabyBoy is on his way. Due to arrive early-August. Four sons. Four little-guys that love their dad with all their heart, and get the same sentiment in return. My own dad; raised a daughter and two sons with my mom. He took the time for family-vacations, sports, recitals, trips around town to see the sites. Now he has 6 grandchildren. He always has time for them, too!
Fatherhood. The men in my life didn’t need a manual! How blessed I am. How blessed my sons are! I hope you take the opportunity to spend time with your own children today. They crave it! They need it! Listen to them; show them; be there for them! Remind the men in your children’s lives that even just 20 minutes in the evening, or a weekend away, can be the start of a great foundation for a life of successful relationships!