I like to tease my husband that he is, “The Favorite.” You know, the parent who walks through the door and the kids climb on his lap and can’t get enough of him. And I’m okay with that—because as “mom” I have some qualities that dad can’t match—like the habitual giver of back rubs. I’m the parent who is the “feeler,” the one who cheers when they cheer and cries when they cry; dad is the “protector,” challenging them to go for things in life, take risks, but fiercely protective of their safety and well-being. It’s why the two of us make a great team—we both have parenting strengths and weaknesses, but together our qualities make for a dynamic duo, and one that together loves like no other.
As Father’s Day draws closer though, I am grateful for the man that my husband didn’t have to be. You see, when Dan married me I’m not sure he fully knew how much I love young people. If you asked him, “What is your wife passionate about?” he would respond without hesitation, “Kids.” I love that he recognizes, sometimes better than I do, that working with and alongside young people is what brings me joy; what energizes me.
So when we had three small kids and I was stressed about housing my summer interns, he didn’t blink and opened our home to several college students. Not for just one summer—for many summers. He stepped in when I was too pregnant as a youth director to chaperone ski trips and summer events. When I had a special needs child who no one would mentor during our Saturday evening services, Dan sat on the floor with the little boy and blew bubbles with him for an hour every week. He doesn’t hesitate when I announce that we’re going to have a house full of kids over at the last minute for a meeting, or to go boating, or that he needs to help feed a small army. He is “my kids” protector on student council trips and navigates us through new cities and experiences. Oh, and he gives the biggest hugs!
But what I admire most is my husband’s quiet example of love. He loves my “kids” in a fatherly way—he helps them, cheers for them, protects them, and welcomes them with open and loving arms. And he doesn’t have to, but he genuinely wants to. Because he knows that each young person that has walked, and will walk, through our doors is important to me; and they’ve become important to him as well.
On Sunday our family will celebrate the Dad in this house. And I will also graciously give thanks for the man he didn’t have to be, but that he chose to be; the man who shows how much he loves me by lovingly caring about the people that are dear to my heart. Thanks, husband of mine, for being “The Favorite,” “Dan the Man,”—and to all of the men out there who pour into the lives of our kids—kick back and relax—this Sunday we honor and celebrate you.—CK