Friday, June 16, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

" ... your Father knows what you need before you even ask him." Matthew 6:8

Today, at Wood Park (or woodchip park, as I like to think of it - given the abundance of recycled wood chips scattered about for the monkey to eat), there seemed to be some type of daddy/child day. All the little ones from the local elementary school marched onto the playground proudly holding onto the hands of their dads. Literally - it was a parade. Marching hand-in-hand, single file, till they reached the safety of the park, the dads and kids descended upon us. The dads came in all ages, colors, shapes and sizes. Some were tall, some were small. Some were white, some were brown. Some dressed up, some dressed down. Some had cameras, none had frowns. They all looked happy to be out there in the gorgeous weather, playing with their kids. It made me really happy. Who knows what types of fathers they are every other day of the year, but they were out there today, for the sake of their kid, on a special day. Judging from the ease with which they handled the kids on the equipment, it appeared that many of them had been there before.

It made me think of my own dad. I don't recall school sponsored events like this when I was growing up, but what I do remember clearly is sports. I remember the softball games, the tennis matches, the endless hours in the sun. I remember my dad standing on the sidelines as I dug in for another round on the courts, cheering me on and talking to the coach. I remember hours spent practicing groundstokes with him in anticipation of the next season. And I remember the pride in his voice when he talked about me to others.

To this day, he still has the patience to bring me along when he's out on the links. And although he's got a killer drive and game to rival the best of the seniors, he never laughs as I slapdash my way across the golf course, hacking up the greens and scavenging around for yet another lost ball.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.

Despite little monkey's growing vocabulary, I suspect he won't be able to articulate all the reasons why he's feeling grateful this Father's Day. So, I'll do it for him. I know, on Sunday, he'll wake up at the crack of dawn, like he normally does. And when that happens, his dad ("da-da!") will be right there with him, taking on the first shift of the day. Da-da always does this. He'll get the monkey up, sing to him, change the first (and most dangerously enourmous) diaper of the day, give him his breakfast, entertain him while he eats with morning talk radio (Hello Curtis and Koobey!), and of course administer the morning meds. All the while, da-da manages to shower, get ready for work, feed Oscar too, and grab his requisite morning cup of coffee. It's amazing the multi-tasking skills that Da-da has.

I hope the little monkey will one day realize how much his da-da loves him, how he's loved him with a determination to do whatever it takes to keep him alive, happy and healthy. I don't know if this ferocity of love exists in every new da-da. But little monkey's da-da has it in abundance.

For the careful observer, you'll note in the above picture that little monkey is sitting on some type of pillow. The new moms out there who breastfeed/fed their babies will recognize this pillow as a breastfeeding assistance pillow called, aptly, "My Breast Friend." The idea is, you strap the pillow around your waist, and rest the baby on it to achieve the proper position to allow for comfortable feeding of the baby. During the weeks Jordan recovered in the hospital, the old monkey took to wearing the pillow around his waist while he walked with the baby around the hallways of the hospital, slipping Jordan's monitor components into the pockets of the pillow for easy transport. Why? Just for the sake of giving the little monkey some visual stimulation, something new to look at, something new to do. The old monkey didn't care how many looks he got or chuckles he produced. He did what he thought his little baby needed. Jordan liked looking at the lights. And if strapping on a ridiculous breast pillow was what it took to get there, then so be it.

I've gone on an on about what an amazing father and husband the old monkey is. But in honor of the upcoming holiday, I think it bears repeating again. You are an amazing man, Jeff, a great husband, father, and son. If Jordan grows up to be anything like you, we will be lucky parents indeed.

oh ... and he's really great with Oscar too.
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