I became a Daddy on August 19, 2009.
I had heard it said that when you are a single mom, you become the dad as well.
It didn't strike me until recently how true that statement is.
What have I learned?
I've learned that kids need someone to wrestle with as much as they need someone to hug them.
I've learned that tossing the football and pitching the baseball is as important as having fresh cookies.
I've learned that a bear hug is as important as the gentle touch.
I've learned that kids need a healthy measure of teasing to grow properly.
I've learned that strict discipline is as important as the comforting hand.
I've learned that kids need freedoms as much as they need restrictions.
I've learned the basic rules of football.
I've learned not to be afraid to catch a baseball.
I've learned how to pin a boy in wrestling.
I've learned that playing superheros is good.
I've learned how to hook a worm on a hook.
I've learned how to paint a garage with three kids helping.
I've learned how to rototill a garden. (And start the tiller)
I've learned that boys need to feel like men.
I know my boys need an example of how to be a man to follow.
And I'm learning how to be that example.
I've learned that they need to know I will be here. No matter what.
I recently finished reading a book by Max Lucado called "God Came Near"
There was one section he wrote about his father.
I hope that someday my kids can say the same about me:
And because he was there life went smoothly. The car always ran, the bills got paid, and the lawn stayed mowed. Because he was there the laughter was fresh and the future was secure. Because he was there my growing up was what God intended growing up to be; a storybook scamper through the magic and mystery of the world.
Because he was there we kids never worried about things like income tax, or savings accounts, monthly bills, or mortgages. Those were the things on Daddy's desk.
We have lots of family pictures without him. Not because he wasn't there, but because he was behind the camera.
He made decisions, broke up fights, read the paper every evening, and fixed breakfast on Sundays. He didn't do anything unusual. He only did what dads are supposed to do---be there.
I realize my children will never say they had a childhood like God intended them to have; 'a storybook scamper through the magic and mystery of the world.'
I just hope that someday they can excuse the mistakes I made while I tried to learn how to be a dad and just say
"She only did what dads are supposed to do---she was there."