Good daddies around the world do millions of wonderful things.
These are just some of the things that the Daddy that lives at our house does:
Coffee, for the me - the mama, first thing in the morning, in bed...that sets the tone for everything else...
Most of all, he loves. Everything else that he does, traces back to who he is and a heart that knows how to love.
It's love that makes him get up in the night with the toddlers (especially if we have a new baby,) and up early in the morning while mama gets a little more sleep. Love that drives him to fold last night's laundry (into much tidier piles than mine...) and to step in when the dishes have built up. (Always without a word.) This Daddy's love is patient, and kind.
Love drives him to work 10-13 hour days to pay the bills, then to walk alongside a young girl who wants to ride her bike around the block if enough daylight remains....then maybe a game of Candyland with a couple of little boys and a then bedtime Bible story.
Love leads him through long division (for the fourth time, five more to go!) and long bathroom waits (10 people and one shower) and theological questions that mama saves for him when he gets home...
Through repeat injustices such as catfood in his shoes and people stealing his flashlights and permanent markers and duct tape and scotch tape and his best set of scissors and needle-nosed pliers from his toolbox. Daddy love conquers all. It tolerates a lot, with deep patience. Daddy love endures.
Daddy love, from this Daddy, hopes. Not a quick fading hope, not a hope that expects immediate change...but hope that sees that many troubles to face an individual are brief, that they are not the sum of the person or the family. He sees the big picture, he looks ahead to the future, and he has hope.
This Daddy works hard. He often does without, for himself, so that everyone else within his reach has what they need. He tears down old places and rebuilds them, to make a better place for his family.
He's a role model, a constant...always there, always going the extra distance and always coming to meet us. Always loving, always serving more than he could possibly be served, always peaceful and always forgiving.
And good Daddy love? It never ends. Not with old age, not even with death. Now, no one has ever confirmed this for me, but I believe that love, once created, endures. A good Daddy can't always shield his child from pain, won't always stop them from being hurt or from bearing scars...but he will never, never willingly leave his child to suffer alone.
Not everyone has known Daddy love like this. My children are blessed, beyond what they even realize, I suspect. I am blessed, to be married to a guy like this. I find it difficult to even breathe when I think about almost losing him a short while ago.
But know this, please, no matter who you are, nor what you've experienced in this life - your losses or your pain - You DO have a Daddy like this. This is how God loves you. This is how God describes Himself to us through scripture: Abba. Father. Warm, close, intimate, and loving. Strong, and self-sacrificial, even to the point of death so that we might have life. God is the reason that any of us know how to love. He's our best example of what love is, of what love should look like played out in family life.
Thanks, to my husband Jeff, for being a wonderful partner in this parenting life. Thanks, too, to my own father, who did the best that he knew how to - who has loved sacrificially through the years.