21 June 2009

The Day For Fathers

First. My Father.

When I was a kid I thought my dad had the same super powers that every kid thinks their dad possesses.
You know, eyes forever roaming the world that can quickly pinpoint ME hitting my brother across the back with my Cabbage Patch Kid. The Long Arm that could reach all the way into the backseat of the station wagon while driving the death-defying curves of the back roads up the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Disappointed Look when my report card comments revealed the classroom sins I thought I had kept hidden. The Ability to Magically Produce Money out of the air when I really wanted those cool British Knight basketball shoes or when I wanted to go to church camp the summer of the drought.

When I hit college I realized that my dad wasn’t exactly heroic like Superman, but gosh, he was smart. When he explained to me how I could save money by living off campus IF I followed his instructions - he was right. (I might have only learned this by NOT following them, however.) And when I had a question about cars, decisions, money, the future . . . I asked for his advice. And it was good.

Now as an official member of the Grown Up Club, I know my dad isn’t entirely super human or always super smart. He’s my dad. And he’s human. Maker of mistakes. His heart bent to the best interests of those he loves. Normal. Wise from years of living and mistake making. Humble. Kind. Far from perfect and far from acting that way. Generous. Full of knowledge. A man who loves me. Without fail. A man who recognizes his role as my father and who lives a life that says, "Don’t follow me. Follow who I am following."

Actually, when you think about it - a man like that, a man like my father - is pretty much a super hero after all.

Now. My Children’s Father.

This guy could not be more loved and adored by the small people who call him "daddy".

When I married this guy, the father of our six children, I had no concept of what type of dad he would be. (You see, I wasn’t exactly planning on having any children, so his Dad Potential wasn’t high on my list of concerns.)

But here we are, almost fourteen years and six children later, and I know precisely what type of dad this man is. He has his super powers, alright. The Ninja Skills that can catch a falling child before that child even knows she is in danger. The Magic Lap that can soothe a fussy infant to sweet sleep. Enduring Patience that happily answers every "why" and "how" question with sincerity. The Voice of Reckoning that demands obedience from even the wiliest Keigley kid. The Arms of Strength that can carry three children at once and lift sleeping children into high loft beds.

This is a man who lets his kids see his imperfections. Who loves his children with abandon and makes their lives a priority. A man who takes his daughters fishing and runs races with them. A man who gets on the floor and chases his toddler until she screams with delight. Who insists on trying to teach his son to act like a gentleman and to put his sisters’ needs before his own. A man with a nickname for each child. A man who draws pictures for his children and makes them laugh so hard they cry and spit drink out of their noses. (At the dinner table.) This guy stays up late when they are sick and carries a first aid kit in his bag and shares his cereal at every meal without complaint.

These kids who live in our house, they believe this man is a super hero. And I know how that goes. And my prayer is that they’ll keep believing that for now. And when they reach college and the super hero phase begins to fade, I trust that they will realize how smart their father is. And when they join the club of grown ups, I hope they too will see their dad in the same light that I now see my dad. And I trust that Kevin too will still be saying to them, "Don’t follow me. Follow who I am following."

And then our children will indeed know a true super hero.


  1. Ok....
    A. This needs to be published.

    B. Thank-you for putting into words how all of us feel about the daddies in our lives.

    C. Maybe this is weird to say considering how I know you, :) But I think you are a remarkable gal, truly.

    Have a blessed day!

  2. I agree, this should be published. Of course I truly believe that everything that you write should be published. You are an awesome writer. You inspire me, I think the things that you write , I just can't say them like you do.
    I seriously started crying at line one, I tried to read it to WIlly and I was choked up the entire time. What a sweet tribute to your dad and Kevin. I wish I could express in words to Willy how much he means to me. Kevin is a great guy but he is so blessed to be married to a great gal! I love you my favorite cuz!