A Father’s Love
A father is respected because he gives his children leadership…
appreciated because he gives his children care…
valued because he gives his children time…
loved because he gives his children the one thing they treasure most – HIMSELF.
– Author Unknown
When we think about fathers, one of the first words that usually comes to mind is “Provider”. They work hard at the office, come home to their families, and coach Little League. But that image may not always ring true for some. “Absent” may be more accurate in many of today’s households while Mom is the only one holding down the fort, trying her very best to fill both roles. I suppose it depends on what kind of experience and perspective you grew up with.
Both my own dad and my husband found themselves in very non-traditional roles, taking care of their children at home while their wives worked. Daddy was an electrical engineer who gave his profession everything he had until the economy failed him and jobs were scarce. It was difficult for him to accept that he could not bring home a paycheck and contribute to the family’s income, but he threw 110% of himself into his four children. We would spend our summer vacations with him at the park or local museums after dropping my mom off at work. He drove us to and from school, learned to cook amazing meals, and helped us with our homework as much as he could. I remember having long talks with him in the kitchen about life, asking his advice about which college I should go to and what career I should choose. Daddy made sure we made it to Mass every Sunday. He would kneel faithfully at the foot of the bed and lead us all in the Rosary. And if we weren’t all seated together at the dinner table, we were in BIG trouble. All the way up until he passed away in 1995, he devoted every day of his life to his family and we knew it.
So when Gary presented the option of quitting his job as an athletic trainer and becoming a stay-at-home dad, I was completely comfortable with the idea. He had taken it up himself to research daycare while I was pregnant, and the day after Meleana was born, he just couldn’t let her go. “One of us has to stay with her,” he said to me firmly. I wanted to be the stay-at-home parent, but I couldn’t drop out of the Master’s program I just started. Gary knew this, so he was willing to leave the job he had worked so hard for…simply because this little girl had changed his life.
The plan was for me to finish my degree then we would make the switch. He would go back to work, and I would start homeschooling. However, our ways are not God’s ways. Circumstances and providence have led us down a very different road than either of us dreamed of when we got married. After a while, I could see the same frustration in my husband’s eyes as I witnessed in my dad’s. He wanted to work. I wanted to be at home with the kids. But whenever we would pray about our situation, the answer was always the same: “Wait. You are exactly where you need to be.”
So Gary has become to our three children the kind of father my dad was for us, in addition to starting Meleana and Therese on their homeschool curriculum. It always amazes me whenever I’m home on vacation how much he does to give the kids all the attention and care that they need. I personally think he does a better job than I do since he spends so much time with them. He knows when to be strict and when to be fun, when to discipline and when to hug. He doesn’t hesitate to have a serious talk with them, and he is even quicker to join them in a Disney sing-along. He keeps his faith simple and his relationship with Christ strong because he understands how important his role is as the head of our family.
As we hope for that someday when he will return to the working world full-time, Gary has since started his own personal training business, Dyogi Fitness and Performance. His ambitions are still strong because he is a man, and I know eventually God will bless him abundantly in his work. In the meantime, every decision we make together is led by his prayerful discernment and his utmost consideration for the good of the kids. Gary’s confidence in the Lord and trust in His plan have always given my heart peace, and I am beyond grateful to have him beside me on this blessed journey…