Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Children's Dad

Before I was married I had a list of qualities that I wanted in my future husband. One of the things that was very important to me was that my spouse be a good father. Obviously it's hard to know for sure what kind of a daddy a man is going to be until he is, in fact, a daddy. But when Ben and I were dating I saw him around other children: kids at church, children I babysat, my little cousins and his students. Kids are naturally drawn to him and he is great with them. Even Will, the boy I now nanny, loves Ben. Our niece and nephews adore him. We still laugh about the time we went back to Michigan for a short visit after we had moved to Kentucky. We walked up toward the door and my nephew, Cole (then about 3 years old), came running outside. I knelt down on the narrow sidewalk with my arms opened wide expecting Cole to run into them. Instead, he totally side swiped me (without even so much as a glance!) and ran to Ben screaming, "UNCLE BEN! UNCLE BEN!" Kids love Ben. But it's not because he's handing out treats and gifts. It's not because he lets them act up and be naughty. It's not because he indulges them. I really think it's because he spends time with them. That's it. Time. He plays with the kids, talks to them and shows an interest in them. And I firmly believe that those actions alone speak volumes to children. I think it makes them feel special and loved. Often when we get together with a group of friends or family Ben can be found out back playing catch with a child, chasing a child or making up a game to play. Don't get me wrong, he spends time with the adults too, but he always seems to find some time to spend with the younger ones.
Now that we have two children of our own, I cannot fully express how grateful I am that my husband invests his TIME and energy into our kids.
Yesterday, our friend David taught our Sunday school class. This wasn't the point of his lesson, but in passing he made a comment about how fathers should be spending time with their kids. And immediately I thought, "I am so thankful Ben does that!" Some of us have more money that others. Some have more resources. But we are all given the same amount of hours in a day and it is up to us to decide what to do with those hours. What we do with those hours reveals what we treasure and what our priorities are.
With that in mind, it is obvious to me that Ben treasures our family and that it is his priority. He has always done a great job of carving out slots of time for our kids. Even in the midst of a crazy school semester and a full time job he always found time to spend with our children. He does not always have enough time to watch T.V, play video games, hang out with friends, or Facebook (he is one of the few left standing without a Facebook account!). He doesn't exercise as much as he would prefer. However, he always finds time to read books, play board games, throw a ball, take a quick swim in the pool, play cars and sit and tell stories to our kids. Now that the semester is over he does have more time and we are loving it! Though he still won't make time for Facebook. (I could learn a thing or two from him.)
If God were to take me from this earth tomorrow, there is no doubt in my mind that Ben could raise our two kids on his own. He's very capable. He changes diapers, gives baths, feeds, plays, puts to bed, dresses - he does it all. I never feel like I have to facilitate activities he does with the kids. He's very comfortable spending a day alone with Aubrey or planning fun things for he and Owen to do together. They go to the zoo, they go golfing, they go swimming, they go shopping and they do it without me. And I love that! Of course we love family time too - that goes without saying. But I think it's so important for Dads to have that one-on-one time with their kids. I trust and pray that my children will grow up to be confident and secure with a strong tie to home because of the relationships we have established in our little family.
Thank you, Ben, for being such a wonderful father to our children! We love you! And please don't be embarrassed that I am bragging about you on my blog. I bet your parents will enjoy reading about what a great man they have raised!