Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Musings

Being a father requires strength, selflessness and sacrifice.  It requires the strength to turn off that football game, even when it's the playoffs, to go and read a bedtime story.  It requires the selflessness to buy a toy that your child will enjoy instead of the video game you've been wanting to buy for months.  And it requires the sacrifice of never being able to have spontaneous sex in your own house for many years.  It is just a fact of life that not everyone is meant to be a father.  Oh, we are all biologically programmed to want to pass on our genes, but that doesn't mean that you automatically get the 'parent' gene.  Just because a man fathers a child doesn't mean that he has the capacity to be an actual dad. 


Larry exhibits extraordinary patience with our son.  I am not a patient person.  It's something that I will always be working to improve, but I'm definitely not there yet. I am a 'get to the point' person, and children often take many detours to get to their point.   I don't like to repeat myself, and repetition is really the heart of all conversations with young children.  So I become frustrated easily.  Not my husband.  He will patiently explain, then re-explain three or four more times, what he is trying to say to our son.  He will sit patiently, listening to Zane tell a story, even if that story lasts longer than twenty minutes and he repeats the same sentence fourteen times.  I admire this, and I aspire to have the same patience.


Zane wanted to play soccer, so my relatively sedentary husband became involved in soccer, and is going to be pursuing his coaching license, just so he can make sure that his son's sports experience is as positive as possible.  My husband doesn't handle the heat very well since his chemo, and he gets very sweaty, but he is out there, kicking the ball around and cheering for his son. Not many dads would do that for their kid.


They built the Lego Millenium Falcon together, with Larry pointing out where some pieces went and Zane pushing them together.  It was a genuine father-son effort, but it was definitely a father moment when they finished, and Zane decided that he wanted to actually "play" with the ship instead of just looking at it. My husband is a geek, and geeks put things like Legos together so that item can be placed on display and admired by other geeks.  They don't actually "play" with said items!  Yet Larry did the fatherly thing and let Zane take the Millenium Falcon out for a spin, knowing that four-year-old boys tend to drop toys, and knowing that Legos don't tend to stay put together under that sort of stress.  Not many dads could do this. I am sure that he winced and cringed every single time Han Solo's ship came crashing unceremoniously to the carpet, but he never said a word. 


The NICU nurses allowed Larry to take a picture of our son before they whisked him off, he told me, but they had their jobs to do.  Later, after I had been stabilized and settled into my own ICU bed, Larry went to see our son, in his little incubator.  My husband told me that Zane's little hand had grabbed one of his fingers.  Zane had opened his eyes and looked right at his father.  That look, however brief, had a profound impact on Larry.  It was in that moment that Larry became a dad, when he realized what being a dad was going to be, when he embraced that ideal with both hands. He's never looked back.  

1 comment:

  1. Moved me to tears. So well written, and such a job well done... one that I'm sure he will continue to do well.

    Happy Father's day Larry.


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