(note: this blog was written solely by Kathy)
This time of year finds most of us with calendars full of celebrations… graduations, First Communions, weddings, and anniversaries. But of all the celebrations, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day have been special to me since I was a little girl (50+ years). As a child, these two days would be celebrated by attending Mass followed by a cookout with my grandparents.
As Father’s Day approaches, I am reminded of the fathers in my life. I always looked to my dad and grandfathers as protectors, providers, hard workers and the most courageous of men! Whenever I awakened with a bad dream or believed there to be a monster in my closet… I felt much better once dad checked the closet, looked under my bed, and reassured me that no one or thing was lurking in the shadows.
I was blessed to have grown up with very positive examples of fathers in my life. To this day, my dad and father-in-law attend the same 7 a.m. daily Mass at my home parish.
Now a generation or two later, it is very disheartening to see “dads” belittled and mocked on TV shows, in movies, and in society. What ever happened to the dads who were strong, fun, playful, loving, and full of wisdom (which we never fully appreciated until adulthood).
I have had the delightful opportunity to watch my husband as a dad: an amazing, God-loving dad for nearly 30 years. From the very beginning of fatherhood, he has been a “hands on,” dad, involved with changing diapers, doing laundry, cooking, brushing hair and ‘attempting’ girls’ ponytails and braids. Yes, he made sure the kids did not leave their “stuff” lying around the house. Yes, everyone had a job on the chore list. And yes, his discipline may have been strict. But what fun our “Fab Five” (as we affectionately call our children) would have with dad when mom was away… Who else would have a classic rock dance party with air guitars, organize an ultimate hide-and-seek game around the house, and play “tickle monster” until everyone squealed so hard they could barely breathe? That same dad taught our children to take a little risk and to go beyond their comfort zone by taking on a heavy course load at school, going on a challenging hike, or trying out for a travel level soccer team. I would gladly defer to my husband to take the first ten hours of driving on a learner’s permit… so he would take the kids out night driving, as well as DC beltway driving!
He taught our sons to be respectful of women, as they are created in the image of God -not as objects. He helped me enforce the dress code for our girls; modesty was always our policy (such as no bikinis). And it wasn’t just a rule, we always explained the reason. In spite of the demands of being in the military, he did his best to support our Fab Five in all their school, church, and sports activities. Yes, he may have missed a few special events, but he would also try to surprise them when he could, at a school Mass or at recess duty.
However, the best gift my husband gave our children was their Faith; he lives it at all times. Is he a perfect? No, only God the Father is perfect, but Rob acknowledges his weaknesses and tries to set a good example. He invites our kids to go to confession with him or to a weekday Mass, or pray the rosary together, or just discuss some theology one on one. They have seen him on his knees in front of the Blessed Sacrament during Holy Hour and how he faithfully attends an annual men’s retreat. I have also seen him apologize to our kids when he was wrong or made a mistake. Recent studies have shown that the example of fathers living out their faith has the greatest impact on children’s church attendance as adults, and with good reason!
As a mom, I clearly see how God loves us, His children, with that unconditional love of a father and mother. In His infinite wisdom, He knew that we needed to experience His loving protection like that of a Father, and His loving presence through the gift of His Church, like that of a Mother.
To all dads, a Happy Father’s Day!
Keep the Faith.