Sunday, June 19, 2011

Shout out to the Dads!

I can't help but think of the men who have made a difference in my life on this Father's Day.

I am thinking of my grandfather.

I remember a loving and kind man who always had time for me. I remember him throwing coins in the pool and then seeing which of me and my cousins could race to the bottom and get them first. I remember hiding behind his chair and "surprising" him. He always acted surprised even though he always knew I was there. I remember playing ping pong, going to Hardees with his friends to eat biscuits, eating ice cream on his back porch, and all of the hugs. He loved to let me crawl in his lap and just hug him.

From my grandfather I learned what it was like to feel loved and secure.

I could write 10 blog posts about how much my father means to me. My problem here will be trying to condense how much I love him into a few concise paragraphs. My Dad was my best friend growing up. He still is. My Dad was my playmate. I remember walking my dog to the end of our subdivision every day and waiting for his car to pull in after a long day at work. As soon as I saw that Mazda I would race him back to the house.

When we got home he would always come out in the driveway and play basketball with me. I can't emphasize enough how much that still stays with me. I hope every Dad know how important it is to play with their children. My Dad loved to surprise me. I was always finding books, games, or dolls on my pillow. For no reason.

As I grew older he never missed one show I ever had. In fact, he was usually at every performance. I would skip hanging out with my friends on weekends just to go to the movies with my Dad. We went on trips together and loved exploring the DC suburbs together. A good weekend for me was going to a civil war battlefield with my Dad or just going out to get ice cream and a new book.

I spent a summer interning at the Pentagon and so I got to ride into work every day with my Dad, have lunch with my Dad in the courtyard, and then ride home. Some days we would stay in DC after work to catch a movie or explore the town a bit. It really was just like hanging out with my friend.

I performed in many theatres all over the country after graduation from college, and my Dad would fly in to see nearly every show. I loved exploring each of the towns with him and picking out our favorite spots. We loved spending time in NYC together. I tried to surprise him by taking him to see his favorite shows and it was a real treat when we lived in Alabama together and were able to perform together for the first time in plays and dramas.

To this day my Dad remains someone I can call at anytime and he has passed his love of surprises on to my children. I would still rather travel or hang out with him more than anyone I know.

From my Dad I learned what it means to be supported, encouraged, and loved unconditionally. He also taught me the importance of your parent being your ally and your friend.

My Father-in-law is Ward Cleaver. Or so I've been told. I have known Rob for nearly a decade now and I don't think I have ever heard him say one negative thing about his Dad. Instead, I have only heard stories of his father building things with him, teaching him, helping him, and supporting him.

I remember when Rob and I were dating and I went home with him for Christmas. One of my first impressions of Jim Webster was him on the floor playing with my nephew Max. Most adults were sitting on couches watching the kids play, but Jim was on his hands and knees playing with them. I knew then and there that he would be a wonderful grandfather to my kids.

I want to thank my Father-in-law for raising a son in a way that I can only hope to emulate. Jim Webster has raised three amazing children who are honestly three of the nicest, smartest, most well rounded, and best people I have ever known. I cannot thank him enough because his loving influence can be found in my own children and I couldn't ask for the father of my children to have been raised by a better father.

And next up is my husband. I might have to stop right now and pause because what can I say? There is absolutely nothing I can write here that will do justice to how amazing of a father my husband has turned out to be.

Rob loves his kids. I mean, he loves them! I have never in my life seen anyone more loving and patient towards their own kids. He is slow to anger, gentle, and just amazing.

I feel like I am faltering a little bit because I am truly awestruck at how lucky I got. I hit the jackpot when it came to husbands. I really did. Rob has never once ever complained about changing a diaper, getting up with the kids, putting them to bed, feeding them.... anything! Every "chore" of fatherhood he sees as a privilege.

He loves to teach our kids. He points out every single tree and rock and bird in nature and explains what they are. He is always playing songs on his guitar, playing chase, reading books, riding bikes, swinging in the hammock, flying a kite, making pancakes, kissing boo boos, and praying with them.

He will do anything I ask. Whether it is decorating a cake for a birthday party or working with Bennett on her ballet moves, he'll do it. And he is never tired when he walks in the door from a long day at work. Never. They are all over him the from the second he comes home until they are both asleep many hours later and he never complains. He never needs a minute to decompress. Never. I mean, how amazing is that?

And he is teaching my kids to love the Lord. Really love Him. He models for my children every day what it means to be a Godly man through the way he lives his life and the way he treats and loves me.

I feel so blessed to have a husband that has a relationship with the Lord. A man who lets the Lord guide our lives as a family and I am so happy our children get to see that modeled on a daily basis.

I want to thank my husband for being the best father I know. I cannot think of anyone else in the world that I would want to raise my children.

And finally, I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father. I am so humbled by the blessings he has bestowed so graciously upon me. He has shown me through my gandfather, my father, my father-in-law, and my husband what it means to be encouraged, loved, and cared for. I am so grateful for His grace which I need on an hourly basis. And I am grateful beyond words for His gift. The gift of eternal salvation which I pray we will now pass on to our children.

Happy Father's Day to all of you Dads out there. I am so thankful for the Dads in my life.

Malachi 4:6
He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.


Donnie Manis said...

Lauren, I really enjoyed reading this. You are so blessed, and the best thing about it is that you realize it. And for that reason, your dad, husband, and father-in-law are blessed too. There's nothing like being appreciated.

I can't wait to see the amazing adults that your children become. Ok, it's just an expression - I know you definitely CAN wait for that to happen! :) But it should be something to behold.

starnes family said...

Happy Father's Day to all the great men in your life!