The job of father and stepdad doesn't come with instructions. There are no guidebooks with simple directions to follow. It’s full of missteps and stumbles, and often there are pieces left when you think you have completed the project.
My husband was already a devoted father to his two girls when we married over ten years ago. I loved his stories about how he took care of them when they were little, especially how he patiently let them put bows in his long hair as he watched sports on television. I saw firsthand how he treated them with kindness and love during our five year courtship. He helped with schoolwork, taught them how to drive, and was determined to pay for their college so they had no debt when they graduated. The girls have grown into strong and independent women because of his guidance. I always know when one of them calls because the tone of his voice changes with such a sweet resonance. He’s the one they turn to when they need help or just a silly giggle. He is their foundation.
My boys were twelve and fourteen when we married. My husband inherited teenage boys with moods and baggage, but he has handled every stage with his patented cool poise. He also struggled through confusing math problems, frustrating driving lessons, and painful late nights with no phone calls or texts. He’s paid for college rent and health insurance and all the other bills that come with raising boys. He’s never asked or expected thanks. All he wants from them is to be good and decent men.
Now he is a grandfather. I see his heart fill with wonder every time he’s with these munchkins. He is on the floor, teaching them to appreciate the intricacies of a perfect horsey ride around the house, coloring Hello Kitty, and singing silly songs. Grandchildren have given him a peek at the future, and it is precious.
I love my husband for a myriad of reasons. I love his goofy misuse of the English language. I love the way he grabs my butt every time I get out of a car. I love how he always holds my hand when we are crossing a street. But his ability to gracefully handle the job of fathering our four children with such humility and quiet devotion has increased my love for him a million times over. His strong hands have kept me standing through all of the heartbreak and joy parenthood has wrought. He is my Rock.