90: A Faithful Father

90: A Faithful Father

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad

A Faithful Father

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.

~Cynthia Ozick

As my husband of just four years reached over and kissed me goodbye, baby Aaron began to wiggle and groan. It was breakfast time, and he was not willing to wait. My sweet husband took one last chance to stroke the baby’s cheek and then he hustled out the door and into his busy day.

With the briskness of the morning fading, it was time for the baby and me to settle into our little routine. It began with the two of us snuggling into our rocker recliner and me feeding my very hungry small one. Once this feat was done and the burping successful, the baby fell fast asleep. Usually at this point in the day, I would place the baby in the basinet and quickly run through the shower, barely letting the water hit me so that I could be completely ready and have the house somewhat in order before the baby awakened.

However, this morning instead of rushing around trying to get ready and playing catch-up on the housework, I stayed seated in the stillness and quietness of the moment, just thinking. I began my thoughts with the baby in my arms. How sweet and vulnerable this sleeping child seemed, the sheer goodness of life floating out upon each wisp of his little snores. These thoughts ran headlong into memories of the morning with my husband, a father rushing out the door to meet the obligations of life that now were his. It was only a small jump to thoughts of my own father, an ordinary man like my own husband.

There he was before me in my thoughts. I could see him standing in the kitchen as he had every morning, wearing his police officer’s uniform and drinking his cup of coffee. “Good morning, Bud.” He called everyone Bud. “Morning Dad.” It was a small exchange each morning, but it happened like clockwork. My mother passed away when I was ten, and as I looked back, I could see how much of a family man my dad was. Because of his love of home and family, he had remarried rather quickly. He went to work every morning and returned to his family every evening. He provided food, clothing, warmth, and protection. He was a faithful father.

Setting the baby down, I dialed a familiar number with tears in my eyes. My heart had just realized the magnitude of the ordinary — the daily life that goes on around us that we too often take for granted, and it needed to be recognized and celebrated. It needed to be applauded.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Dad,” I said, as I fought back tears.

“Hey, Bud. How are you?” Concern was in his voice.

“Fine, I’m just calling to say . . . thank you.” I got it out before my throat tightened too much for me to speak.

“What for?” he asked, trying to remember if he had sent something to me recently.

“For getting up and going to work every morning of my life. Now that I have my own child and I see my husband doing the same, I just wanted to thank you, Dad. Thank you for being faithful.”

There was quiet on the other end of the phone for a moment as my dad composed himself, and with a small tremble in his voice he said, “You’re welcome, Bud.”

I don’t remember much of the rest of the call. I am sure we talked about odds and ends, the everyday things that take place, but that moment of revelation about my father, I will never forget.

There are those who are known for their heroic deeds, and there are those who are known for their fortunes and fame, but it is the ordinary everyday fathers who are the true heroes. They are the ones who kiss their wives goodbye and stroke the cheeks of their children before running out the door, day after day, being faithful. My father was one of those ordinary faithful fathers and I am thankful that he was.

~Bonita Y. McCoy

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