My husband and I have a pact not to give each other mother’s or father’s day gifts since we are not the parents of our respective adult kids. However, as I awakened to a pinkening sky this Sunday morning, I felt pangs of regret about that decision. I’m feeling so blessed by a man who has been such a good Dad to three people I care most about in the world during the course of what will be, in five days, 25 years of marriage.
Fairy tales and movies have not been kind to step parents. As I contemplated remarriage, those images took up residence in my head. Stating the obvious to my future fiancé some 26 years ago I said, “You know I have children.” His immediate response was so tender and sweet as long as I have a memory, I’ll never for get them. “Don’t you know, they are the ribbons on the package?” Those words have defined the kind of Dad he has been to my Tracy and David. I can’t count all the deeds and needs he has fulfilled. But just to name a few…
When they were younger, he was the one to change the sheets and clean up the throw-up while I stood by gagging. Being the math whiz, he was the one at the dining room table bent over algebraic equations and geometry formulas. He was the one my son once dubbed “the most generous person he knew”. And this was the easy stuff. The hard stuff came when the kids were figuring out how to be adults. He was the one who kept the faith when I was over-run with Mom anxiety about their safety or college calamities.
Together we figured out money for college tuition, apartments, cars, and condo down payments. It was his idea to buy our two daughters-in-law their wedding gowns. As partners, we decided to encourage his entrepreneurial spirit when we helped Jamie start a business to build a family. Even recently, at 65 he proposed yet another family business to help our kids pay off strangling student loan debt.
I thought I loved my husband because of the way he treated me. But it was the way he treated our children and now our grandchildren that strengthened this love. So..even though this is not my holiday, I’m feeling very blessed.