For this day on which we celebrate fathers of every ilk, I thought this an appropriate representation of the kind of dad Beve is to our kids (at least some of the time).
From the first moment we discovered I was pregnant with our first child, Beve was the epitome of an involved parent. In fact, before I got home from work that day, he'd already spread the news far and wide, so excited was he about the new life who we'd call E. From the beginning, he called that baby 'Bunny' and took to talking to her, though he didn't know it was a her until just a few days before she was born, which was a good three weeks after she was due. I was more than a little bit ready to have that baby out of me, and he was more than a little bit ready to hold his first child. From then on, he held, changed, bathed, got up in the middle of the night to bring them to me to feed (would have fed them himself, if only he'd had the proper plumbing to do so!), read to them, talked to them, nicknamed them. E, as I said, was Bunny. J was--and is to this day--Lovey, Lovey-boy, or just plain Love, which was a little embarrassing when he started high school at Beve's school and Beve first called him Love in the hallway. And SK was our cute as a Bug littlest baby, and Beve still calls her Bug all the time.
He was a great big jungle-gym when they were little. I loved it and was sometimes frustrated by it all at once, to tell the truth. During basketball season, when he was coaching, he'd get home so late, I'd have already fed and bathed the children, had them ready for bed. Then Daddy got home and it was time to wrestle. Wrestle and get all wound up and sweaty and who wanted to go to bed after that? But I wouldn't have traded it. Not for a single minute of it. Sometimes, if he had a late meeting, I tried to take his place, but wrestling with Mama just wasn't the same, not nearly as fun, not by a long shot. Mama was made for quieter things, and, if I'm honest, I admit, I only had about a twenty-minute window when it came to playing those children's games like Shoots and Ladders. After just so long, I'd be making a rule that even the shoots were ladders just to finish the game more quickly. But the Beve? He was willing to play even the silliest of games, like the one with E and SK where he had to put the tiara on his head and add fake jewels to it, with giant dangly earrings dripping from each ear. Dang, I wish we'd taken photos of some of those games.
As they grew, Beve made sure he took our children out for 'dates' by themselves. J was his little assistant basketball coach for years. One memorable game he heard Beve mutter about a time-out, so J, who was probably about 5 at the time, hopped up off the bench and yelled, "TIME-OUT! TIME-OUT!" complete with correct hand-motions, and the ref blew his whistle. The high school athletic director, who was working the clock, laughed about that for years. And Beve knew SK was a little princess who liked to dress up, so he'd call up from work, talk to her on the phone, and tell her he wanted to take her on a date, just so she could get herself ready. In a fancy dress and shoes, they'd do something like go to MacDonalds for a drink and the ball-bin, and she'd be content to be by herself with Daddy. Later, they simply had those drinks without the ball-bin. And with E? Well, he coached her basketball team when she was young, put in basketball courts at two different houses where we lived, and started a lawn care business with her.
When I think of what I admire most about this dad I (ha, make that GOD) chose for my children, I think it's his desire to grow with them. He sometimes feels like he does a great job with them, and sometimes feels like he doesn't--but he always wants to do better. He wants to get to know them more. He wants to understand how they think about things, what they want for their lives, and encourages them in those directions, rather than pressing his own requirements on them. And I admire the sense of humor he's given each of them, the strong sense of that there is always something to laugh about, that we can always find the absurd in the ordinary, and that absurd is worth noting and enjoying. These three kids of Beve's have that sense in abundance--his wit, his enjoyment of it, the ability to find such things in the most mundane. And above all, what Beve has given his children is a strong sense of integrity, honesty, honor. He is who he says he is. You can count on it. They can count on it. They have. All the days of their lives, they have counted on it, our kids. They've counted on the fact that Beve lives an seamless life--the same in private as he is in public. Their lives are the fruit of his.
Happy, happy Father's day, Beve. I thank God for you. I can imagine no better dad for these three amazing kids. You've been funny when they needed funny, serious when they needed serious. The balance when I was tipping too far one direction, the anchor and the rudder. How one man can be all these things, I don't really know. But God did. Maybe that's why he made your shoulders so wide and your feet so large. I realize they wouldn't be, if not for you, but I'm so grateful that you are JESKdad.