Thursday, June 25, 2009

A late Father's Day post

Just found this here and wanted to share because I'm a super sappy mom.

I am sitting at the breakfast bar in my kitchen, writing on my laptop and looking out into the backyard. We live in one of those delightful old neighborhoods where the houses are so close together that, for yards, we say we have a ‘front postage stamp’ and a ‘back postage stamp.’

There’s a tall old tree in the back left-hand corner of the lot which I honestly didn’t know was even a tree until about a week ago. Strong vines and thick foliage had so smothered the trunk that I assumed it was a lost cause to even bother getting into that section of the yard.

That is until last week when my husband of three weeks announced he was going build a treehouse for my 4 year-old daughter in the neglected section of the backyard, using the forgotten old tree as a solid base.

From where I sit right now, I can see my husband, lean and strong, tearing down the massive vines from the tree and clearing the space around the trunk for construction. Most of the overgrowth has been here much longer than he has owned the house, and the labor is difficult at best. This forgotten back section of the yard has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the inattention to the area makes it a maze of complicated vines to crawl through. His excitement about this project for Caroline, though, has overshadowed the hard work it’s taking to begin construction, and he’s been out there clearing and measuring every night for a week.

And this is where I am thankful that my daughter has a man in her life who wants to build her a treehouse no matter the obstacles. He is, very literally, taking something ugly and overgrown that many people would just leave alone and working to make it a playground for her, all because he knows it will make her happy. What a gift.

Single moms know the frustration of parenting solo better than anyone around, and what makes parenting alone much more difficult than anything else is the pain and guilt you feel as you long for a father for your kids. To make matters worse, society reminds these women often that girls without fathers are more likely to do drugs, face unplanned pregnancies, and marry for all the wrong reasons. Likewise, statistics show that boys without fathers are less likely to be well educated and more likely to commit crimes.

Fortunately, fathers don’t exist only in biological forms or as step-fathers. Fathers can be baseball coaches, youth pastors, and teachers. Fathers can be brothers, as was the case for me, uncles, grandfathers, and cousins.

As I write I am thinking of my daughter asleep upstairs, knowing what “B” is building for her in the backyard. She’s too young to see the treehouse as anything more than just what it is- a treehouse with the potential for a million memories and climbing galore- but I’m not.

When I look out my window I see a man who’s worked all day and comes home to work some more, all because he loves her.
I see him batting at bugs and ripping up vines to make her a place to run and play and have sleepouts under the stars. I see a man I prayed would come into our lives, and I see a man who is a father. Fortunately for me, he’s also my best friend.

This is when Brian looks up, sees me though the window, and smiles. Happy Father’s Day.

- Mary Cady Bolin

1 comment:

  1. Loved this line:

    "Fortunately, fathers don’t exist only in biological forms or as step-fathers. Fathers can be baseball coaches, youth pastors, and teachers. Fathers can be brothers, as was the case for me, uncles, grandfathers, and cousins."

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