For all you dads out there…I want to share what I see happening. I want to share what I experienced happening. Of course this is not ALL dads…I am using it as a blanket statement because I know dads are busy making a living. They are focused. They want their sons to grow up and be able to support their families as well. The thing is…your baby boys need your attention too. They need hugs and nurturing. They need to be recognized and held and whispered to and loved. Of course you love them…well all know you do. The thing is…do they feel loved by you?
A Committed Dad till the End
I was at a funeral yesterday. It was for a five year old boy. This young boy was sick since birth. He had lost oxygen to the brain. Poor decisions were made and they nearly lost their first born child….a son. I listened to the dad speak about how much care he gave his son. 24/7 is what it took to keep him alive for five years. A strain on the family. A strain on the marriage. Yet, this dad stepped up. He was not only there to support financially, he was there emotionally and in everyother way to care for his son.
Sometimes Dad doesn't Know
I was wearing my boots and they have high heels…because I had been at a video shoot prior to the funeral, I was running late and by the time I got there it was standing room only. I stayed for most of the funearl and then retreated to the front room. There was a sofa and a mother with a six month old baby girl. She was playing with her and rocking her. When the funeral was over, dad appeared with his three year old son. I watched their interaction. The father constantly critisized the boy. Don't do that. Get over here. Only one piece of candy. What are you doing? Be quiet. The boy continued to seek out dads attention and the father would look over him and around him. He seemed like a good dad. He clearly loved his son and family. He didn't know what he was doing. The boys head would sink lower and lower each time. You could see his little frame hunching. It was clear to me…his son wanted his love and attention and he was too busy.
My husband rejoined me and we waited out the line to speak to the family. As we sat, my husband leaned over and said, "Watch this dad with his boy."
"I have been." I replied. "Why?"
"I just wish I could tell him to pick him up and hug him. Hold him. Be with him. He kep shushing him in the Chappel. He is too harsh on the little guy. He doesn't know." He said. "It is like he is ignoring him. Mom is in tune…dad is not."
"You should teach men how to be with their families." I said.
We wre quiet then and both watched a while longer. I considered telling this young father something. But what?
Paul told me he had a dream the other night. Phil was just a little guy. He said it was at our old house and he came in and all the kids were little and they were all there. He ran over and grabbed Phil and picked him up and held him and said, "I love you Phil. I love you."
He said everyone was confused because he feel to the floor holding Phil and saying, "I love you, I love you, I love you Phil." He laid on the floor and just held Phil while the rest of the family watched. Finally he looked up and said, Phil is going to die when he is older, yet still young. I am so sad about this.
I thought of the dream. How many times I had watched Phil sleep. I remember feeling guilty because I would tell him to go to bed and I would be in to read him a story and by the time I got the dishes done…he was fast asleep. I missed those moments with him. They were opportunities. I don't care about dishes. As a matter of fact, I hate doing dishes….dishes are always there. Phil isn't.
I would do a better job if I could go back. I would hold each of my children more. I would spend one on one time with them. I would look them in the eyes when they talked. I would turn off my cell phone. I would BE with them. Of course I cannot go back. What I can do is tell YOU to do a better job. Read them stories. Talk to them. Teach them. Don't spank them. It doesn't work. I did it….I did it in a very logical way….it was not done in anger..yet, it injured their self worth. I would teach them in love. I hope you will read this and change some things. Call me for ideas…read books…listen to tapes. Be the very best parent you can be. You only get one shot and it goes fast.
I love you Phil. I want you to know I think you were a great kid. I enjoyed seeing you grow into a man. Thank you for loving me inspite of my failings.