Father’s Day is approaching. A hard marker for lots of people for lots of reasons.
I’ve spent the last two days in Kansas City talking demographic trends and though I’ve looked at the numbers before, I’m once again overwhelmed with the percentage of kids living apart from a parent, most often a dad. Poor choices, incarceration, divorce. As I said, lots of reasons.
And as I write this I’m sitting in the airport listening to a man four chairs down talking on the phone. Obviously a birthday call that starts with a “Happy Birthday!” ringing out. An “I remembered”, “You’re important” and “This is your special day” kind of call. And then he directs the person on the other end into the garage to find their hidden gift. “Is it right?” he asks. And I picture the forethought that went into the planning, purchasing and hiding to be found when he was gone.
As I get overwhelmed with the statistics, I remember how many good men there are. Good men who make generous, difficult choices. Who follow through and do the hard work of getting up every day to no fanfare, but the call of duty of work and responsibility.
So here’s to the men who show up. Who go to dance recitals and band concerts and football games. Who do airport runs and late night shifts and take out on those nights when dinner isn’t making itself. Who answer the calls and laugh at the knock-knock jokes. Who show with their time and attention that the most important things aren’t things.
Here’s to the men who are faithful, who love their wives as the grey hairs sprout and the wrinkles appear. As stretch marks form and bellies grow. Who find faithful tenderness the strongest pull and a new definition of sexy in the years shared. Who spend their currency of this one life on the people around them in the hours and days and years of consistent presence.
Here’s to the men who parent. Who tuck kids in at night and FaceTime when they can’t. Who pay for baseball and driver’s ed and college tuition. Who give words that encourage and redirect and reprimand out of what is best for the children in their care. Who provide and stay and say I love you with all of their actions.
Here’s to the men who stand in the gap. Who fight for the underdog and give generously. Who mentor and scholarship and pray. Who give more than is required or expected because it is the right and needed thing for this world. Who can be trusted and answer the knock of service when it comes.
I see you at school drop offs, here at the airport, walking in our neighborhood. You don’t call attention to yourselves, but show up to life with a dependability that makes others feel safe and reassured.
Happy Father’s Day, whether you carry the title of Dad or not, you are the kind of hero who might not make history books, but make us all better.