It's early here. Everyone is still sleeping. The dog has been let out, and I'm alone in bed with a cup of coffee, my bedroom windows still covered in the steam of a humid summer North Carolina morning.
I've been thinking about Father's Day and how little I've done. My husband was saying that it's notable how much goes into Mother's Day (gifts, flowers, spa treatments) and how little, relatively, goes into Father's Day.
That's true. But I think it's because father's don't want that kind of attention. Certainly, my husband doesn't. He'd like a nice meal for dinner, a quiet morning to drink his coffee and watch those awful morning news shoes that men seem to love watching, and to have everyone in the house pleasant and happy for the day.
Maybe a whiskey and ginger around 5PM.
My husband doesn't like gifts or speeches or a lot of praise. He just likes, every so often, some quiet, a glass of whisky and to know that everyone he loves is safe.
I was reading poems recently and came across this one titled Only a Dad. It reminds me of so many of the fathers I know.
Only a Dad
Edgar Albert Guest
Only a dad, with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come, and to hear his voice.
Only a dad, with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more.
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.
Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.
Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men.
My favorite line from that poem is: 'and bearing it all for the love of them.'
And with that, the house is up. Our son dragging his blanket around the house looking for the dog. My time is up.
I'll just end this by saying, I'm grateful to have had a dad who taught me so much about life and to be married to a man who does the same thing for his own kids. I'm not sure dads get as much of the glory as moms, but I'm grateful for them all.
Finally, the best thing my husband ever said to me was one day in the car. I was crying about feeling like a failure as a mother, and he leaned over and said, "You haven't failed until you stop trying."
I think of that all the time, on all the days when mothering is hard, and I'm grateful my kids have a father who helps me always keep trying.
Happy Father's Day!