It’s that day, once a year, when we pause to think about the important men in our lives, fathers and fatherly figures alike, and to thank them for the ways that they have helped to shape us, the lessons they have taught us and the love that they have shown us. This year, in addition to thanking my own daddy and father-in-law who are both wonderful men, I get to celebrate Robert as a daddy for the first time.
Robert and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary last Tuesday. I had written some of this for him then, but blogging hasn’t really been at the top of my list the last week or so, and hence I never got it published. But here’s a little tribute to one of the newest dads on the block, who is also one of the finest.
When Robert and I exchanged wedding vows three years ago, I never would have imagined that we’d go through all that we’ve been through together the past year. I wrote before Clara was born about how grateful I am for this baby daddy and that love has just multiplied each day since her arrival. He is the perfect match for me and already the perfect daddy for Clara. Our personalities are polar opposites (except that trait of stubbornness that we share) and that balance keeps us in check with each other and the world. I hope that our differences will serve as a powerful and balanced role model for Clara as she grows up, too. Robert is laid back and calm and easy going. He doesn’t get stressed out easily, even in the most stressful of situations. He is patient. He is rational and analytical and able to approach problem solving with his brain (while I’m often going at it with my heart), but he is also full of passion and love that is unparalleled. I love Robert for his intelligence and his sense of humor, but most of all for his faith. I’ve always marveled at how easily Robert places his complete and total faith in God. He’s often the one to remind me (and especially the past few months) that if I say I’m going to trust God, I have to show it by stopping my incessant worrying and desire to control things. He’s so right. He loves his family and friends and will teach Clara well about the importance of surrounding yourself with people who are dear to you. He will also teach her about God’s creation and is already spending time with her outdoors, showing her the trees and birds and sky and telling her all about this wonderful world that God has made for us and entrusted us with. Soon after Clara was born, when the doctors were telling us that she wasn’t going to make it and telling us to prepare ourselves to let her go, Dr. Block told us something that has really stuck with us. He said that 50% of marriages in the U.S. will fail. An experience like we’ve been through just hastens the inevitable. The marriages that were going to fail eventually anyways cannot endure the stress and fear and anxiety of a sick or dying child. The marriages that are between soulmates, that were destined to last, become strengthened in a way that is indescribable. I know beyond a shadow of doubt that we fall into that second camp and I’m grateful for the ways that God has used this tough journey to draw us closer to one another instead of driving us apart. It’s been hard the past few months to always put our marriage first, but Robert has been so wonderful about continuing to insist on an occasional date night, about making sure that I get the rest I’ve needed, about taking care of our house and yard so that I could spend the time at the hospital that I did, for waking in the night to help with Clara’s feeds, for encouraging me and supporting me when I didn’t think I could do this anymore, for allowing me to have my moments of meltdown and for holding me and loving me when I was a crazy lady, and for so much more. I’m grateful for every bit of that because it is a tangible expression of the way that he loves me and cares for me. But I’m also grateful in a new way now, because I see the kind of model that he will be for Clara. I recognize that those gestures are not just for me, but that they are teaching Clara about what a good man does. She will learn right from the start about how important it is for a man to put his family first and her daddy will set the bar high for her to find a man as good as he is. I cannot imagine being a mother to Clara with anyone else in this world besides Robert by my side. I’m fortunate to have him as my husband, and Clara is truly blessed to have him for her daddy. Robert, these girls love you.
I’m also thankful on this Father’s Day for my own father. We are cut from the same mold and the similarities in our personalities have meant that we’ve been known to clash from time to time. One of the great blessings that has come out of this experience with Clara has been a renewed bond of father and daughter between me and my daddy. He’s said, “I love you” to me more the past three months than I think he had in the past ten years before. Clara has softened his heart a little, and I’m so thankful for that. I’m also thankful for the many things that he has taught me over the years and the inspiration that he is as a parent. He has shown me the importance of sticking up for yourself and taught me just exactly how to do it. I was able to be the kind of advocate for Clara that I was during her hospital stay because that was modeled for me by my own father. He has taught me the power of words and how to negotiate. He has taught me the importance of managing your money and modeled generosity for me in a way that I aspire to, but may never be able to live up to. He has instilled in me a love for travel, a sense of adventure, a quest for knowledge and a drive for excellence. He has given me a sense of righteous indignation and tenacity that I know is not just genes, but also years of watching him fight for the things that he believes in. He has a tough exterior, but I know that beneath that he loves me and my brother with every ounce of his being and that he would do anything in the world for us. That unconditional love can only come from a parent. He has always set high expectations for us and my desire to make him proud and not disappoint him has helped me achieve a lot of what I have in my lifetime. He has also taught me how to laugh and the joy of humor. I remember as a child being tucked into bed upstairs and hearing my parents with friends downstairs still entertaining. There was nothing sweeter than drifting off to sleep to the sound of my daddy’s raucous laughter. It’s like music to my ears. I hope that I will model all of this and teach it all to Clara. I’m proud to be a Hardy, but know that deep down I’m a Davis. And as my daddy and I always say, “You don’t mess with a Davis.”
I can’t leave out my other father – Daddy Bob. Thanks Bob, for teaching Robert how to be a man, for instilling in him a wonderful faith and for raising him right. You done good. I can’t imagine how proud you are to watch him become a father too. I pray he follows in your footsteps, for you are a wonderful man and an outstanding father. I’m very thankful for you.
This Father’s Day, my heart is full. I’m thankful that we’ll be celebrating all together at home and that I am blessed with such wonderful men in my life. It’s true what they say – a good man is hard to find – yet somehow three of them found me. Thank you, Lord.