Father's Day was a few days ago and it's made me do a lot of thinking about my dad (pops) and my husband. I have been blessed with not only an incredibly kind, funny, generous, loving father who showed me what a father is supposed to be but I am also blessed with the only other person in the whole world that could equal my dad- my husband Donny.
My husband grew up without a real male role model in his life and while, for most people, that would mean they might have a hard time learning how to be a dad, Donny is different. He must have watched a lot of "Leave it to Beaver" or "My three sons" growing up because I truly don't know where he got the ability to be the kind of father he is. I’m sure his mom had a lot to do with it. I have watched this man make so many sacrifices for his family every day. Now, don't get me wrong, I know that all dads sacrifice a lot for their family but Donny, just like my own dad, goes above and beyond anything expected from him. Because of his job, he has to live out of the country for months on end. We have four kids so this meant he missed some birthdays, anniversaries, first smiles, first days of school, baseball games and so many more important milestones, I can't even name them all. He sees all these things thru pictures and videos-and all with a smile on his face and a light in his heart.
Donny is the one that slept with Noah on his chest for the first 3 months of his life. It was the only way Noah would sleep for a while and it's still one of his favorite spots in the house. When Paw-Paw gets home, Noah grabs his finger and pulls him to his big comfortable chair and pulls him to sit down. Donny, of course, obeys the command and sits. Noah will giggle and clap and get all excited and then climb up and into his lap. He has a very specific way he likes to sit with his Paw-Paw. After climbs his way onto his lap he plops down right in the middle. Then he has to find the sweet spot. He wiggles and slides over to the very edge of his lap and places his little butt right next to Paw-Paw's hip (his left hip-always his left hip) and sinks down into the "hole" created between his hip and the big, soft arm of the chair. Then Paw-Paw's arm wraps around his shoulders like a blanket and Noah leans back into position. After he's settled, he brings his little hand next to his cheek and tilts his head just a little so it can rest on Paw-Paw's chest and then he's just.....still. He's relaxed, comfortable and safe. You can see it in his eyes. Sometimes he even lets out a little sigh of relief, as if he's been waiting for this moment all day.
Paw-Paw is one of Noah's "safe spots". The only other true safe spot is in his mommy's arms. He's also his go-to guy if mommy and G-Maw say no about something because Paw-Paw is a sure bet to say yes. All he has to do is ask. He will grab his finger and lead him where he wants to go. If that place is outside-no matter how hot it is-they go outside. If he wants to play in the rain-then they play in the rain. If he wants a sucker (another one of Paw-Paw's favorite treats to give out)- he gets a sucker.
Don't think Noah hasn't figured this out. He watching. He knows.
You see, here's the thing. When we are growing up, we witness things that our parents don't realize we see. And we learn a great deal by watching. I watched the way my parents treated each other and other people in their lives. With respect. With kindness. My parents never raised their voices in front of us. As a matter of fact, I didn't think they ever fought until I got older. And even then, it was just a guess. They have still never raised their voice in front of me.
As kids, we watch and we learn. One of the most important things I learned by watching my dad was that I wanted - no, needed - a man like him to be my husband. Although I didn't realize it at the time, I needed someone like him because it would take a lot of patience to be married to me. (Truth be told, I can be a little difficult sometimes.) I also learned from watching him that I wanted a man that would treat me and my future children with respect and teach them to be the kind of people this world needs.
Well, I got lucky because this man, my husband, my best friend, has been the best imaginable father and grandfather for my family. Maybe he learned some of it from watching my dad. We are all lucky to have him. Our four children are kind, courteous, caring, smart, generous and funny. Don't get me wrong, they're not perfect. But they're pretty awesome kids. I might have had a little something to do with it but I truly believe they learned a lot of that from their dad. And just as my kids watched and learned from him when they were growing up,
now, Noah watches him.
He watches us all.
He sees when we give out hugs for no reason.
He hears when we say "I love you" before any one of our kids walks out the door.
He sees that tempers are never lost in our house. And voices are never raised.
He feels the love in our house and he is learning how to be the kind of man he is supposed to be.
See, here’s the thing, Noah has therapies twice a week and daycare three days a week and a special instructor comes to our house twice a month so they can help him learn how to navigate in a world that is very loud and bright and busy and confusing for him. They are important people in his life. But all his real life lessons come from home. He learns how to love by watching us. He is a lucky little boy. He has three uncles, a grandfather and a great grandfather to show him the way. They are all great men to follow. And he's watching them very closely.
We don't worry about the kind of man Noah will become, even if we do worry about his future.
We know he will be all the things he sees in the men around him.
He will be kind.
He will be respectful.
He will be humble.
He will be loving and generous and funny.
And he'll be a little silly too.
Just like his Paw-Paw and Pops.
But most importantly, he will be happy.
I know this because that is what we have surrounded him with.
And, as I've said so many times in the past: that's all we've ever wanted for Noah.
So here's a big “thank you” and an even bigger “Happy Father's Day” (a little late) to my incredible dad, my amazing husband and my unbelievable three sons. They are Noah's most important male role models and he is lucky to have them all.
Of course he also has his Mommy and G-Maw and MiMi too but this is Father's Day so we will talk about all those people another time. That's a whole different blog post.