I hasn't mattered how hard the pregnancy has been or the trials involved or the pains and sickness that have come; each life has really been so exciting and such an adventure to welcome into this family. It really never gets old. And after being the mom of this particular family for the time I have been, and after being the wife of this particular man for the time I have been, I am even more thrilled to introduce this sweet baby girl to 3 amazing boys and one amazing man. I feel as if I am the luckiest girl in the world already, so I can only imagine how one day she will feel to have these guys in her life.
On that note, I have been reflecting a lot lately on how lucky she will be to have Patrick as a dad. The world has lost focus on training up good men, holy men, and men who are present in the life of their family. I can't explain the peace a mother has to know her child's father is going to be there. I have not experienced the "loss" of a father through neglect or infidelity, or even death, but I have closely seen the way it affects a daughter... and for those daughters, I pray every day.
So, what does it take? A lot of people say that you will marry someone like your father. I certainly did not think that this was the case the day I got married, but I assure you, it is. Let me tell you the qualities and virtues I have experienced that I think are neccesary and priceless... and ones that I had, and my daughter will also have in a father.
One: fidelity. Just recently my mother in law actually said to me, "Your dad just really really loves your mom." And it's true. He does. He has been there, he has been faithful and he has done everything, in my eyes, to please her. From small trips to the grocery store, to taking care of cars, to buying her flowers, to being by her side as she suffered through her OCD. I see it and I hear it in his voice and I always have. He will never leave her. I know for certain there were times when they contemplated how they would be married another day... but, they persevered, side by side. Just as Patrick's promise to me stands true day in and day out, through tired eyes, and endless chores... he always places me first. It is a grace I am learning to never take for granted.
Two: availability. They are always available, even when they are not really. No matter how inconvenient, no matter how tired, no matter how out of the way it is, they are there. Presence when you need it. I still remember when I was teaching and living at home and I had left a huge pile of graded papers next to my bed. I called home in a panic because I needed them... without flinching, my dad said, "I will be right there with them." To have a man be free to help you... and willing without complaint. That's what it takes.
Three: generosity. A heart that gives. Where time is not counted. Where eyes are not rolled. My dad has always tried to help people find jobs. I have seen it more times than I can count. My dad has always had a job... thankfully, but I have really never seen him exhausted from helping another look for work. It is a gift of his because he is SO social and so let's say "well known" that he is able to help people with this often. Patrick is the same way, in that, he sees a need and doesn't hesitate. A generous heart is contagious and to me, the first sign of love.
Four: a sense of humor. My dad is one of the funniest people you will ever meet... obnoxious, yes; loud, yes, but so hilarious. My life has been different because laughter and light heartedness has been a part of it. Although I am not like him in the volume, I know that I am good at telling stories because of him and I know that I like to entertain people because he has always been so good at it. In the same way, Patrick loves to laugh, loves to make me laugh, loves to dance and really, just likes to have a good time... all the time. I also love that he thinks I am hilarious... no really, he does. He thinks I am so funny... so whether it is true or not, I love that someone else lets me make them laugh ;)
Certainly these four characteristics do not make a perfect man, but I think certainly make a man who has what it takes to be a good father. And I think the attentiveness every woman and young girl needs could be found through each of them. There are not many men I have met with all of these, so I find myself in a unique and blessed situation... that I feel has formed me and continues to allow me to be a woman with the dignity I deserve.
On that note, I will end by saying I am thrilled to bring my baby girl home to Patrick... and a lavender room. And Dad, thanks for painting my baby room lavender before mom and you even knew I was a girl!
Praying for daughters and dads everywhere today.