Dear Dad,

Recently I went to Lowes and saw a mom and her daughters, one a preschooler, shopping for their dad. As I exited Lowes I saw the same woman leaving empty- handed with an angry, stiff as a board preschooler lying in her arms like an uncooperative piece of lumber, tears streaking down her tiny little face.  Shopping at Lowes makes me feel that way, too, little girl, but sometimes we have to take one for the team.

Dads are worth every second spent shopping for things us girls couldn’t care less about. In fact, the importance of dads, at least according to our culture as a whole, seems to have diminished even since my childhood, which was surprisingly recent. So while I don’t have statistical data to back up my aforementioned statement, I’d like to take this opportunity to honor fatherhood. This blog is for all the dads out there; regardless of genetics, you have the highest calling there is and I’d like to encourage you in this journey I know very little about.

Dad, my whole world revolved around you when I was a little girl. I cried when you left for work and my day was complete when you came home. I remember sitting on your lap or falling asleep in your guitar case to the sound of your voice singing bluegrass. I recall the days leading up to Christmas when I was 6, being shooed away from the basement and feeling rejected, only to discover on Christmas morning that you had been making me a cradle for my babies. Addison’s and Aubrey’s baby dolls slept that same cradle. When I was 14 and watched “A Nightmare on Elm Street” without permission, I used to wake you up every night for a month to double check the windows. Sometimes I even fell asleep beside you. I knew nothing bad could ever happen to me if you were there.

There are so many other men who have stepped up to the plate and are fulfilling God’s calling. I wish I could highlight each of you. I count it a privilege to observe the precious relationships between wonderful, godly fathers and their children. It gives me hope. Thank you for everything you do to build the next generation. Sorry for all the ties, slippers, weird shirts, cheap tools, stuffed animals, macaroni art, golf balls, coffee mugs and whatever other random, useless love offerings you received on your special day. Actually, I’m not sorry. They represent a tangible reminder of the intangible investment you pour into the lives of your kids.

I know there’s a dad out there right now who feels like he can never do enough, like everyone else has this parenting thing figured out but him. Let me speak into your life: if you feel that way you are doing just fine. Being aware of your impact and striving toward creating stability and safety in the lives of your children is the foundation of being a good dad. Always know that even if you are not outwardly acknowledged by your kids for how amazing you are, inwardly you are imprinting on their souls in a way that will pay dividends for generations. Hang in there. The proof is in the pudding, and your pudding is NOT made of spoiled milk.

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