I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have a good dad and father-in-law, and be married to a good dad as well.
One of my favourite things about my dad is how excited he gets about his grandchildren’s births. He wanted to see those new-born babies as soon as possible after they’d entered the world.
Once I think he got a bit cranky because he arrived too early to the labour ward and had to wait for ages while I got cleaned up and tried to get Hannah, I think it was, to have her first breastfeed.
“A new baby in the family is more exciting than winning the Lotto!” he told me once. And yet at the same time he isn’t bothered when teething, clingy Isaac won’t leave my side. He’ll very patiently wait for the babies to go to him. Got to love that!
My father-in-law is a devoted father as well. When Peter and his siblings were growing up their dad wrote up an after-school and holiday schedule which included school work, piano practice, exercise and free time. He taught the children lots of things, including how to iron their clothes, clean the house, love God, and respect their mother, all of which eventually made them extremely attractive marriage prospects!
And Peter. Where do I start, because he really is in the thick of hands-on fatherhood at the moment and so there are a million stories I could give you to show his dedication to his little ones. So take yesterday.
I’d been feeling that Naomi has been a bit neglected by us lately, especially since we’re so taken up with Isaac and his sleep problems and run of sicknesses.
Since she is so good at occupying herself with reading or playing with her siblings, it’s easy to just assume she’s ok and doesn’t need the same level of attention and even affection as the younger children. But of course that’s not true, and it crossed my mind to mention to Peter that I thought Naomi needed more hugs from him.
“I know. That’s why I went to get her out of bed this morning, so I could give her a cuddle before the other kids came to get one,” he told me. He’d read my mind and Naomi’s heart. He’s a good dad.
Every Father’s Day I try to remember our children’s godfathers as well. And our spiritual fathers, the good men who care for our souls. One priest friend we always try to contact to wish a Happy Father’s Day, even if it is only by telephone text message as we’re driving on the way to visit one of our dads.
A priest, a friend, yes, but more, too, since he has always had a fatherly concern and love for us.
Fatherhood is a gift and privilege, and spiritual fatherhood no less so, although it is very different in kind to biological fatherhood.
Godfathers have an important and beautiful opportunity to mentor their godchildren and make a massive impact upon their lives and future.
People can pay thousands of dollars for a life coach or mentor, but I think you can get by just fine in life if you have a few good men around you, and I’ve certainly been blessed in that respect.