6.22.2009

Happy Father's Day

I could never let the day pass too far behind without paying tribute to the men in my life. As I think about growing up with my Dad, I can't say that every memory is a great one. To be real honest, some of my memories are down right ugly. There were times when we would butt heads so badly I would just cry my eyes out. We are just SO much alike. We quite literally would have what they call "a battle of wills." I can't say that they were so much battles, because I never stood even a fighting chance. He was going to win. No question about it. And for good reason.

You see, my father was raised by Godly parents who taught him right from wrong. His parents, my grandparents, made it their life goal to raise their sons in the way of the Lord. My father grew up knowing how to work hard for what he had, how to respect his elders and how to keep his eyes focused on the ultimate prize. So, why would he falter from that teaching when it came down to his own children? He wouldn't.

There were times when I wanted to yell, kick and scream at my father. Really. There were. But I NEVER doubted that he loved me. Oh, the Sunday afternoons that we spent together riding 4-wheelers, shooting the pistol, playing ball in the yard, skiing on the river. The good times far outweighed the bad. Boy, that man loved (and still does) me. I knew that he actually wanted to spend time with me. It wasn't that he was trying to get in his "dad" time or do my mom a favor. He really, truly wanted to spend time with me.

Looking back on all those "bad" times, I realize that if I had just been acting right we would never have had to have those "battles." If I had only obeyed the rules or used my brain a little more logically. My father was just not willing to let me settle. He knew what potential I had. He was NOT going to sit by and let me screw up. Some lessons I had to learn the hard way. Some lessons he was happy to teach me before I got into trouble. Either way, there was never a time when he did not have my best interest at heart. He knew it was his responsibilty to train me in the way I should live. He wanted to ensure that when I was older I would never stray.

I can't say that I never strayed, but I sure knew my way back home. Both to my earthly Father and my heavenly Father. And isn't that what parents are put here for? To make sure that our kids are taught right from wrong and that they are led in the proper direction? My father never took this responsibility lightly. And although it took me many years and 2 children of my own to appreciate him, I am eternally grateful to my father for being the man he has always been. I love you Dad, so very much.

Another thing I thank my father for is teaching me what I was to expect from a man. He taught me how I was to be treated by a boyfriend and then eventually a husband. He showed me by example how a real husband treated his wife and how a man can cheerfully be the spiritual leader of his home. I thank him often as I look at my own husband. In many ways Erik and my Dad are very different people. But in many ways they are similar.

Erik is by far the most amazing man in my life. He is the best husband and an even more incredible father. He is understanding, supportive, wise and honest. He is funny, emotional, caring and loving. He has treated me with respect from the day we met and easily won me over with his charm. He can lay it on smooth, let me tell you. But I love it. He makes me smile and my stomach still does butterflies when he kisses me. I pray that that feeling never goes away. It is as real as the very first kiss, way back in 1995.

Unlike a lot of people, I knew that I was going to marry Erik before I even knew his name. Well, I at least knew I was going to date him before I knew his name. I guess the marriage thing came later, but it did not take long. Let me tell you. It was a more real feeing than anything else I had ever felt. I was so sure that we were meant to be together that I never thought of leaving ---even when it did take him 5 years to propose :)

And speaking of fathers....have I mentioned what a wonderful dad he is? Just like my own father, Erik loves spending time with Ella and Lucy. When he gets home from work, his time and energy is totally focused on his girls. As tired as he might be, he puts on his "home clothes" and then is at their mercy. Outside, inside, rain, shine. It does not matter. He gives them a bath every night and somehow makes bathtime one of the most anticipated events of the day. They hate it when I have to step in. I'm such a bore!

I love the way he loves me and I love the way he loves the girls. I love it when they all curl up in the new leather chair that he hates and that is too small for all three of them. But they get in there all the same and just become one big bundle of love. I love it when Ella wakes up in the morning and if Erik has already gone to work she sobs tears of sadness because she is heartbroken not to see him. I love it when Ella and Lucy run to give him hugs when he comes home from work. I love it when the girls are thrilled on Friday night that their Daddy will be home all day Saturday. I love the way Erik loves his girls.

I am comforted to know that Erik will do whatever it takes to make sure that his girls have every advantage they need to succeed in life. He will never let them settle. Just like my father did for me, Erik will fight the good fight to ensure that Ella and Lucy reach their full potential.

I love you Erik, and I thank God daily for sending you to me. How a boy from Iron Mountain, Michigan and a girl from rural West Tennessee could ever come together can only be accrediated to God. And to Him, I am thankful.



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