He's not perfect...far from it. There are moments he gets on my last nerve like when he drops his size 13s in the middle of the walk-way or when his work-out-clothes could win the contest for smelliest clothes. He spends too much time listening to old school jams on his laptop and snacks more than I'd like, no, he is not perfect, but he is a good father.
The greatest gift I've given my girls beyond life and a knowledge of Christ, is a secure relationship with their father. I am married to a "in-the-house" black man. He cooks Sunday breakfast and dinners, he lets the girls play "beauty shop" with him and he always gives them a big, burly bear hug. The girls scream in delight and glee when he walks in the door. They run and jump in his arms with the assurance that his 300 lb frame will hold them tightly. He has given them honor in not only his name and his presence, but in his unconditional love. He has changed their diapers from the moment they took their first breath. His big hands try to wield a hair bow with the dexterity of a quilter, his dimpled smile assures them their thick hair is the most beautiful in the entire neighborhood. There are moments I step back and watch him interact with his daughters and I pray for God to keep him strong, healthy, and in their existence.
My husband and I are like other couples, there are moments we get on each other's nerves and can't stand the sight of the other. We don't always agree, I'm organic and he's a hole-in-the-wall Chinese fanatic. We both enjoy reading and art and taking our kids to cultural events. We agree to disagree on some things and we are both involved with them. His strength is in his presence and there is something about a deep, booming voice telling the kids to "do what your mother said do," that gives me a quiet reassurance. My strength is in my creativity and sensitivity. I miss it at moments, he misses it at moments, but together we have made a commitment to their lives.
He goes to work every day in his high-stress job and prays daily for God's strength. He tells me everyday it gives him great joy to see his family well cared for and secure. He pays the bills and keeps us afloat finacially. He made sure his family would be well cared-for in the event of his death, especially if that happened while the children were still minors.
I wish I could give all children what my two daughters and three sons have - a father who is in there, good, bad, and ugly, even when he may not want to at times. I wish I could give the kids I mentor someone who constantly reassures them of their beauty (my girls) or their ability (my fellas). He talks to the boys and has often played the mediator when my rants about the dirty (pick one - kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, family room) gets on my nerves with all their stuff. He makes them speak respectfully and isn't afraid to get in their faces when need be.
He has always tried to hold the older ones (ages 21 and 19) accountable for their actions. He insists upon responsibility and accountability and is the type of father who marched his 13-year-old son back to the electronics department at Wal*Mart and made them take back the "explicit language" video game they sold to an underage minor. I know my son was mortified and embarrassed and my husband's anger on his face was enough to send the clerks scurrying to take back the game, even when the shrink wrap was taken off. I was very proud of him at that moment.
It is 2008 and I've had a belly-full of news regarding our teenagers and young people. My heart weeps for our future and there are moments when I feel like my Saturdays are wasted with the girls I mentor. There is a spark and when I feel like the future is all washed up, I simply have to look at him being "Daddy." My husband will do something like spend hours putting together the girls beds and teaching my youngest son how to honor his sisters by carrying their new beds up a flight of stairs. He will also use that booming voice to make my son spring-into-action if he forgets to take the trash out.
The music in our household is the sing-song voice of my girls as they take delight in the attention lavished upon them by their big daddy and older brothers. The brothers protect them fiercely, even the one in Japan declares his undying allegiance to their protection. The youngest son and resident big brother at 14 is aware enough to tell his little sister when a pair of jeans have become too tight or when a cartoon is inappropriate. I step back and smile because all the lessons my husband and I have instilled in them come out when I least expect it.
No, my husband is not perfect, his shoes are under the dining room table, his cracker crumbs are saluting me from under his chair, oneof his socks is under the coffee table, but he is perfectly there, perfectly trying, and perfectly an involved daddy...and that gives me hope for tomorrow.