HELEN HUDSON HERE: TO FATHERS HERE AND GONE

As my construction crew headed off yesterday for a well deserved weekend rest, I suddenly asked:  “Hey who here is a father?”  As the hands went up, so did the grins.  Turns out that one is even a grandfather.

 Suddenly, out came the pictures of daughters and sons; a curly-haired toddler in white crinoline, a boy in a baseball cap.  One even had a video of his granddaughter playing his old guitar like a stand up cello.  But it wasn’t the pictures, rather the look in these dad’s eyes as they fished out their wallets and phones from back pockets.  It was the big grin of the painter who didn’t even have pictures but instead told me about his three kids:  “first a girl, she’s 23 now, then a boy, 22.  My youngest is 19.  I’m kind of hoping someday she might come work for me.”

 Dad’s have so many hopes and dreams for their kids—maybe even more than Moms.  They’re not so busy cleaning up after them and changing diapers.  Instead, they take them on adventures, challenge their little bodies with physical games, and size them up as people in their own right.  Dads are more likely to say:  ‘He’s a bad sport.  He’d better get over that if he ever wants to make it in life.’  Moms are more likely to wipe his tears and give him a plate of cookies.   (Call me sexist, but I prefer ‘old-fashioned.’)

My husband was a changed man from the moment our first was born.  From the wonder in his eyes as he held her for the first time, to the tender care he took of her every need.  She is 19 now, but he would sacrifice anything to support and protect her.  (Me?  Maybe not so much.)  When our 2nd came along, he often worried that he “could never love her as much.”  And yet?  He does. 

 And while both parents are important, I have observed over the years that much of a child’s character and self-esteem comes from their father.  Psychologists say that dads are even more important when it comes to girls.  Funny thing about that, though.  My dad died when I was a baby so I never even knew him.  However, I’ve often been told that I am much like him.  Now there’s a conundrum.  That means he’s ‘here’ even though he’s never been here.  So Happy Father’s Day, Dads, wherever you are.  You matter—even if we’ve never met you!!!

Helen Hudson is the author of “Kissing Tomatoes,” now on Kindle.

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