Father's Day in our home was celebrated privately with no long post of gratitude to a biological or step father, delivered on social networks. It was quietly honored by grilling chicken, baking brownies, expressing gratitude with hugs ,and hanging out. We stayed off of our phones and had family time. We gave some small gifts.I think one of the biggest gifts he got, actually came a day before Father's Day.
We were filling out paper work , and the business man was asking my husband questions in regards to income, dependents etc. He asked
"Are you married?" Then said, " well you said you had six dependents and with that many kids, you have to be married. Nobody has that many kids and is not married."
I looked at my husband and smiled. He married me with 5 children from a previous marriage. The biological father is on vacation from the responsibilities of life I guess you could say. I don't know what is more unbelievable , that you could father five children, and not be there for them, or that you propose to a woman with five children. He wasn't going to say anything, but I obviously found an opportunity to brag. I informed the man that sadly there were Men that could have that many children and not be married. But there were also men crazy enough to fill in the gap and be there for someone else's children.
My husband which normally doesn't have a quiet bone in him, smiled humbly. He didn't expound on the situation or go into detail about the biological father. That is one area he let's others brag on him, or he keeps quiet. He didn't want to take the place of their daddy, and he has never spoken negatively or tried to get the kids to love him more. The lack of father in their life, made it easier to love the man that was being daddy; therefore, the decided they wanted to call him Daddy.
On one of our dates, when he first introduced me to his family, he had a man say, "If you ever get a wild hair to marry that woman, come talk to me first." He had two children of his own, and so a blended family would mean seven children total. His decision to pursue a relationship with me did not go without protest from his family or real conversation between us. He weighed the positives and negatives. His biggest fear was letting down five children, not being overwhelmed by five children, so he courted our family. `He fell in love with the children as he fell in love with me.
By the time we married, the children had had more hugs, games, and laptime with him than their real father. We solidified our new family with the addition of one more bambino. He was giggling when we found out, where I was crying. If his family didn't think he was crazy before, they definitely did then. God has given us grace through all of it. It doesn't mean it has been a breeze blending two families, and I tell people often, it would be safer to have a short courtship and marry a single person if you have no children, than to marry someone with children. You need to know without a shadow of a doubt that God has called you to be a step-parent. Divorce is not God's perfect plan so it doesn't go without consequences.
We use the difficulties of blending a family as teaching points to our children of making better decisions when they decide to marry. We are open and honest about our mistakes and sin in times past. Sin is an ugly word that doesn't get mentioned all too often in today's culture, but it is necessary. How else do you explain to a child why a parent chooses to have nothing to do with them? How else do you explain the difficulties of not being able to sit at dinner every night with mom AND dad? They have to go to school and sit with classmates very different from themselves, and are taught tolerance, but then they are given the answer "Mom and dad, just can't get along anymore." That is a shame.
My husband has been open to my children about his selfish lifestyle in his first marriage that led to divorce. He has owned up to his contribution to the break up, and worked on his faults. That is more honorable to my boys than him bashing an ex and blame shifting. He is transparent with them and tells them often, he knows they are destined to outshine him, and will be model citizens. He pours his love into them, and will confess his wrongs and ask forgiveness. He is living life with his children as best he can.
He has many reasons he could say "This is too hard. I'm not made for this." But he plucks along. He gets up everyday and decides to live life to better others around him, instead of living for himself. He could decide he was really a woman and ask the kids to call him mom, but it wouldn't be received well. He could decide he just wanted to be a fun brother, but he has decided to be their Dad. He has chosen to take the role that media portrays as an inferior title in today's world. Men are portrayed as lazy, immature, ignorant beings. Unless they are saving the world and wielding a gun.
My husband is still a father the day after Father's Day. He gave up his freedom to shepherd someone else's little lambs. He doesn't have it all figured out, but true courage and bravery comes when you take on something you could easily fail, but the victory is more rewarding than the ease of life by not trying.
There are men all over the world that don't get honored for just being Dad. Adoptive fathers, Step-fathers, Single Dads that braid hair, Grandfather's that have filled in a gap, and biological dads that would never tell their children how often they wanted to quit, but stayed in a marriage to fulfill their promise of "till death do us part." These men are still here on Monday, and check the mail and pay the bills. They know their kid's friends, and aren't ashamed to say they will be daddy, not big brother. They may not be hip in their role as protector, provider, and disciplinarian, but they make the world a better place. The evidence of Good fathers is in the fact there are young men that decide to marry and take the chance of being called dad.
Thank you fathers. Thank you to the mothers that see the importance in honoring the men in their children's life. Thank you God for giving us grace to continue on in life and this thing called "Family."