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This post is two days late but when something is important to say, has meaning and levity to it, it can take me a moment to ponder and reflect how I want to word it. And if I am to talk about something as important as the love of my life, the man that chose me to be his wife and the mother of his children, well, that is pretty important.

I watched him on Father’s Day. He didn’t act any different. He was the same man but I looked at him differently. The day compels you to, to look at a father in the light of all he is and be grateful for it.

His shoulders are broader than mine. I think God made man’s shoulders wide because of the load they carry on them. The pressure he must feel to provide for his growing family, the responsibility of raising two boys to be good men like him and two daughters who know how a man should respect them, the love he pours out to me each day, the security he gives to us all.

I watch the kids climb on top of him. He used to be able to lay on the couch after breakfast, coffee in hand, stretched out by himself. Now he has three little ones positioning themselves around him and on him, each one clamoring for the coveted spot of laying on his chest. I don’t blame them; never do I feel more safe than when he wraps his arms around me and I can lay my head on his chest and hear his strong heartbeat. The littlest one usually wins this spot and becomes still, snuggled down with her daddy while the boys lounge across his legs and sit by his side. He can’t hold his coffee anymore and he doesn’t have all the couch to himself but something tells me he doesn’t mind.

I watch him smile as the boys repeatedly tell him “Happy Father’s Day!” like it’s a new revelation of the day every time they say it and Haddie says, “You the best!” over and over, grinning wide for approval. I am amazed at how much he has changed since we were first married, just kids ourselves and now positioned to raise kids of our own and how naturally he stepped into this role from the moment he first held our eldest in his arms. I watched him fall in love three times over, aweing at the miracle of birth, and prepare to see him fall in love one more time when our new one arrives in the fall.

He is firm and gentle and wise and silly and man and boy all at the same time. He gets tired and frustrated just like me sometimes but I know he loves these kids unconditionally, loves me unconditionally. I am so thankful to have him by my side through this task of parenting.

I think of his father and my father and how they have gone through the same, raising four (or more) children. How they too had to be strong, had their own challenges with us and felt the weight of the responsibility for raising those children and just surviving through and hoping that they did the best they could. No doubt they did, and without boast I can say that the legacy of their children and children’s children is a testimony to the fact they succeeded. I am thankful for them too.

I watch him in the evening as the day draws to a close, headed to work once more. He kisses and hugs each child, making them feel individually loved, and turns to me. “Happy Father’s Day,” I say. “Thanks for being such a wonderful dad and husband.” He looks at me, eyes beaming with love. “Uh, your welcome?” He laughs. But he knows I mean it, not just because it is Father’s Day and is something I am supposed to say, but because it is a truth I have seen him living out each day, something that he is reminded of when the boys randomly tell him he is the best dad ever or how much they love him.  A truth I have been blessed to be able to say and hope to say for many, many more years as our children grow.

The official day for father’s may be past, but it does not mean that the respect lessens or he is no longer important in the children’s lives. He is a constant in our lives, a strong leader of our family. Every. Day. That demands honor everyday, is biblically commanded. But it is not hard when you have a man like him as your husband and father of your children.

Happy Father’s Day my love. Happy Father’s Day to my dad, to my husband’s dad, and all the dads out there each day doing the best they can. We see it, and are blessed by it. And if your couch is no longer your own or you have children begging to be scooped up or older ones calling just to say hello, may you be blessed too, knowing the respect you are given this day is well deserved.