“ A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”
Just wanted to give a BIG THANK YOU to all those men out there who father and mentor children of all ages. And an especially big THANK YOU to my husband for being the best dad to our two children, who are now all grown up by the way. They grow fast, for any of you new parents out there. Treasure these days, hours and minutes.
Every father’s Day my husband never really liked material gifts. He considers himself a Franciscan type, not really a big fan of the material things in the world. He grew up Catholic but likes the humble side of religion.
He would never wear a gold cross, he is more of a wooden cross type of guy. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share with you all some of the adventures we did together as a family. These are the things my husband always ask for as gifts, our memories and spending time having fun with one another.
So here it is,what it takes to be a fun, loving, kind, teaching, mentoring, caring, amazing, and fantastic dad.
Our first child, a little girl would spend a whole month in the hospital after her premature birth. Being a first time father spending hours in a NICU is not easy. But my husband did it with so much love. Every time he walked into that room where our daughter was, his whole face just lit up.
After a month in NICU we finally got to take our baby girl home. She went home with a machine to monitor her heart and breathing for a heart condition she had (SVT). We were also told her head scans showed shadows, which they said indicated she had Cerebral Palsy. We cried when we heard it, then we looked at our precious and perfect little girl and took her home and loved her. I remember she was so tiny, I had a hard time finding clothes to fit her so I bought doll clothes for her from the toy shops.
My husband was right there by my side, being the perfect dad shopping in the toy section with me, looking through doll clothes for our baby to wear. Those doll clothes , although very small, still swallowed her up. Even preemie diapers were giant on her. She would lay in her crib always looking up above her and smile and giggle all the time.
My husband and I finally came to the conclusion that she was seeing angels above her and that was what made her so happy in that crib.
When our son was born he was a healthy baby. We had no problems dressing him.He was this little chubby thing and as adorable as could be.
One day when he was about a year and a half he stopped speaking, he stopped looking at us and he became lost in another world.The giggling and happy little baby we had known just disappeared one morning. It happened that fast.
At first the doctors said everything was fine and they did tests on his hearing which turned out perfect. I could see my husband was in pain at watching what was happening to our son right before our eyes.
I remember watching my son sit in his sand box and do the same thing over and over. Grab sand, pour, grab sand, pour….my husband walked up behind me in the doorway as I watched our little boy in our back yard and my husband will never forget the words I said to him that day “ I have been through hell so many times in my life, I know my way in and out by heart…and I am going in there and getting our son and bringing him back.” it’s a quote by one of our presidents and it is a great one at that. A little different then how I said it but it all means the same thing. A battle is coming and we need strength to get through it. We were never alone though, so many of our prayers were about to be answered because we believe we are never alone where ever we may be, God is always by our side to help us through what ever journey we are taking.
My husband was the perfect dad right there helping me and our kids with turning our home into basically a preschool. When friends and family walked in to visit it was like walking into a classroom. Pecs cards labeled everything in our home, stations were set up in all the corners. Everything was neat and structured with sensory tables and bean bags and mini trampolines in the kitchen.
When we pulled our kids out at 5 and 6 and decided to home school them that was when the real battles happened. It still amazes me how much contempt there is for the parents that have to come to a decision to home-school when the system fails them. And the most horrible thing is when family and people you believed were your friends hate you and turn on you for that decision…so strange.
My husband once again was right there with me helping with lessons and field trip adventures.
When my son wanted a baby tiger we looked all over our city together searching for a kitten that looked liked a baby tiger. Finally one came up for adoption that was a rescue kitten that had been abandoned. It had to be hand fed with a bottle but my husband drove way out of the city to a small town to pick it up for our son. That’s a dad for you.
That baby tiger is all grown up now. Here he is, also known as Sammy, Sam Sam, and Samburger Hamburger. He is still very loyal to our son. Those two are the best of friends.
One day my husband took our kids to the zoo. Told my daughter to ask the Elephant keeper some questions and do an interview as a home school lesson that day. Her and her brother had the best time interviewing that Elephant keeper and they learned so much. The lesson that day was empathy. The keeper was very sad, he was upset about the Elephants. They were not happy and needed a bigger and better area to explore and walk. My daughter and son got to touch the Elephants and even feed them that day. But the best lesson my husband taught them that day was the lesson that we are not the only living creatures on this planet and although some of us don’t speak the same language to each other, we still all have the same beating heart that feels pain, sadness, happiness and love.
Or the time my husband taught them about history. They were both able to speak to soldiers that were there battling during DDay. This was at a museum event in California.
They explored ships, air museums and learned through speaking to the people who actually lived history. This is why we tell them to research everything they are being told and remember that unless you see it, hear it, and experience it yourself, always question everything.
They had Science lessons at tide pools. We just hopped in our truck and off we all went on a 6 hour road trip to the beach to explore one day. We stayed the whole week and had so much fun.
Scuba lessons in the pool.
Exploring caves and natural tunnels. Learning about natives and the plants they grew and how they lived long ago here in our home state of Arizona.
Dance Recitals in the park.
A day at the beach watching seagulls.
Or just hanging out together getting our toes wet in the waves. We took a bucket of plaster with us and poured plaster Alphabet letters in the sand and painted them later that night in our hotel room. Every moment, and second of everyday was a learning opportunity to teach our children.
Dad’s life lessons never ended. From helping a group of people build a tiny straw bale house. Covered in mud we all had fun eating pizza together later as we watched a beautiful sunset (those photos are somewhere on my husband’s computer).
They spent time working with dad on sets shooting commercials and helping dad edit and designing music for them. All children are like little sponges and they love to experience and learn about everything. We exposed our kids to everything we were doing in our lives as adults. We included them as much as possible.
Days visiting art exhibits in the gardens.
My husband showed our kids how beautiful this world of ours is.
When I came home upset after volunteering for a week at our son’s school (before we home schooled) crying because of how cruel our son’s speech therapist was when she sneered and said to my son’s classroom teacher “Isn’t there a room we can just stick him in” all because he was upset and couldn’t use words to communicate with. I just showed him directions from his PECS book of photos and he was fine after that. Dad was right there to help build up our son’s confidence when others frightened him.
Or how the Speech therapist said “Why bother, he won’t know what to do” when all the other kids went to go paint and color for their art lessons. I had to fight back how upset I was and go and use a paintbrush as a prompt and say one word to him “Paint?” which he did to the amazement of that speech therapist, she was angry though when she saw that…why? Why are there people out there in the world with such contempt and bitterness in them that they only know misery and not success?.
It hurt my heart to see the so called educated professionals not do anything to help our son. Art was always my son’s favorite activity in our home, he loved creating things.The teachers at that school should have been teaching me how to reach my son. But it was I that had to find outside help in order to find ways to help my son learn how to communicate. I was the one that made that PECS folder for him. My husband was always there to encourage me and help me when things got hard. He is the best dad ever for that.
I wonder what that therapist would say now to that child that she believed could not even comprehend art. I wonder what she would say if she knew he would go on to win several awards for his art and even make hundreds of dollars as a young kid selling that art. Art that she didn’t think he was ever capable of doing. People loved his whimsical robot designs.
We had a lot of beautiful memories and so many happy ones too. And we still are. Now they are all grown up but they will always need their dad’s wisdom and life lessons for the rest of their lives.
In all those years, all the the ups and downs, my husband kept being a wonderful dad, right by their side the whole way, teaching them, and loving them.
I can’t believe they are adults now. I am sure you are wondering about all those problems I mentioned above. The medical issues, the no speaking for years, The nightmare teachers, the upset family members. How did it all end.
With two happy adult children still exploring, learning, making memories together and growing more. The Cerebral Palsy never showed up again on any scans and we have the records to show for it. The heart condition our daughter outgrew. My son speaks. He reads, writes and is in college now working on a degree in Biochemistry.
We have long conversations and laugh together. When people talk about the things that make them happy one of mine is that my son talks to me. I will get the weirdest stares when I say that “I am just happy my son speaks to me and my daughter can walk”. It would take too long to explain that answer of mine and I say it a lot, so I just smile to myself when I see their questionable looks. It would make my son and daughter uncomfortable to bring up all that history in front of them.
This summer our son is reading up on Anatomy. He is a very serious when he looks into anything he does, also very private. He doesn’t remember some of his early childhood years of all those teaching lessons and adventures we took when he couldn’t speak, it really was like he was gone for awhile and then he just came back one morning and asked to go to Target.
His words came back one at a time but his first full sentence was “Can we go shopping today at Target?” my husband and I just smiled and said yes…he was 6 years old.
I am so grateful that my kids had a father that was right there by their side to teach them along with me.
My son has passed me. I am not an academic, I am more of a right sided brain creative type. My husband always took up the subject I was not good at when it came to teaching them. Both our kids got A’s this semester in college. They are both up for scholarships into universities as long as they keep those grades up. Both of them have a goal of getting their degrees debt free. That right there is a huge challenge in our country.
Yeah, this has a happy ending and as for my husband…he will always be a wonderful father. I knew he would be years ago when we were both teenagers dating.
Happy Father’s day to all you dads out there…being a dad is one of the best gifts anyone can receive. You all have a wonderful Father’s Day where ever you may be out there in the world.
And to all the new dads and future dads out there remember these words…
“What you teach your children, they teach their theirs”
Teach them about the things that really matter and every generation will get better and better. God bless all you dads. Have a wonderful Sunday with your family today, from all of us at Our Little Red House.
In loving memory of our dads. Thanks for all the memories, adventures and life lessons.