My dad, Cantey, Granddaddy, Papa C - whose creativity, humor, wide ranging interests, generosity, thoughtfulness, and love have supported me in more ways that I can number. Daddy said to me a long while back something I will never, ever forget:
"Our mistakes as parents are mistakes of our humanity, not our intention."The humility in those words has stayed with me and bolstered me when I've felt the sting of messing up as a parent. It's the common lot of all of us who have children. We will blow it sometimes. But it was never in our hearts to hurt, never our desire nor intention to make mistakes that caused pain to our children. I feel deep gratitude to my Daddy, whose words and example free me from the false notion that I can somehow be the "perfect parent." We parents need grace, too.
My husband, Coty, Sweetheart, Papa - who delighted in each newborn, played "rolly-ball" on the floor with toddlers, "dangerous criminal" with youngsters, and still plays basketball, Backgammon, board games, word games, really any game with all of us, who encouraged and taught all of our children, read countless books to them, understood and still understands the vicissitudes of the teen and young adult years, who delights in his granddaughter and looks forward to more grandchildren, who leads spiritually, trusts deeply, counsels wisely and prays daily - the loving father of our six children who welcomes many others into our family circle - this is man with whom I gladly, joyfully, and sometimes through tears share the adventure of parenting.
My son-in-law, Luke, Daddy to Clara, the Cowboy - who deeply loves our daughter and granddaughter in visible and vocal ways, who works hard shouldering responsibility with faithful care, who is creative, funny and fun and is raising his little girl to know and love God - this is the young man I am so glad my daughter met in Cameroon almost ten years ago and who now makes this Mommy/Gramma glad.
My father-in-law, TC, Bapa, the General - who welcomed his son's hippie vegetarian girlfriend one Thanksgiving Day long ago, and who carefully stewards and gives generously, who has shared himself and his love of backpacking with his twelve grandchildren enriching the lives of them all and who raised of his son to be a tender, faithful man - for all of these things, I am grateful.
There are more fathers - my two grandfathers, no longer living, of whom I have many happy memories; the father of my high school friend, Teresa, a father of 8, also gone home, who always said, "I hate kids" and we laughed and knew how much he loved; the fathers of my children's spouses who have shaped the children I rejoice to call my son and daughters-in-law; the fathers in my church... so many examples of strong, loving, faithful fathers. On this day, I give thanks for them all.
Happy Father's Day!