We grow older and give ourselves license to analyze our parents and their failings. But my father did what he set out to do, what his own father had not done for him. He held a steady job, he paid the mortgage payments on time. He provided. And he did it at great sacrifice. He gave up the career that he loved most - teaching - so that he could sit in an eight-foot square cubicle and push paper.
My husband, too, lost his father at 18. And while he may not talk about his own father much, I can imagine the great man that he was. Ryan himself has turned out to be such a fantastic dad. He races out of the office to get home to us by dinnertime. He coaches Nathan's tball. He's teaching the kids about money, doling out allowance and keeping track of interest. (Well, he IS an actuary, you know.) And he's up with two hungry babies, night after night. Enough said.
Like everyone else, I have my moments of complaint. Yesterday, for example. "You don't listen!" I say into the phone. I'm driving home from Saturday morning book club, and he's informed me that he's just put the babies down for their morning nap at 10:30. 10:30? What? "9 and 1," I remind him impatiently when I get home. "Everything revolves around the morning nap at 9 and the afternoon nap at 1."
I'm up in arms over what's essentially miscommunication and later chiding myself for losing it over something so minor. Thankfully, in the midst of the anger, I didn't let myself say what I was really thinking. Accusations of selfishness. Of laziness. Of uninvolvement. Because I don't mean those things.
What I mean to say is that I'm married to the man who's still my best friend, a man who has his priorities in order. A man familiar with investing and sacrificing himself for his family. He's the first and last man I can say I've truly admired. Happy Father's Day.