I was perusing the card section at the grocery store reading over and over again Father’s Day cards that were filled with apologies. “I know I don’t tell you enough just how much you mean to me Dad” I responded within myself much like I have my entire life.
- Sad that so many have strained, distant, or non existent relationships with their fathers.
- Thankfulness for having a Dad that is my best friend.
Some people will write about how difficult it is to celebrate Father’s Day when your relationship with your father has struggled or maybe your Father has passed away. My heart goes out to those of you navigating those emotions surrounding this holiday.
As I was deciding what to write about, my heart drifted to the Fathers out there, the ones longing to have relationship with their children that keep them at arms length, or the children they have waiting for them in heaven. My heart was especially drawn to the hard working men who give so much of themselves to their work so that they can provide and then come home feeling inadequate day after day because they feel they have so little or maybe nothing to give their family.
When I look into the eyes of men like this -many of whom I’m related to- I see a sadness that I’m sure I will never fully understand. They are worn thin at times. The harder they work the more needs appear. Stress from work fights for every crevice of their mind. This, paired with money concerns, causes them to constantly strain to hear the excitement in their kids voices while sharing the activities of the day & the needs of their wives. Their responsibilities have such loud voices that I believe it takes much effort to hear anything else over them.
I know that I’m guilty of having days and sometimes weeks where instead of helping I just demand more. I am frequently a drain to my husband. I can act like a spoiled child, frustrated that my needs aren’t being met or that I’m not getting what I want. Which only adds to his stress.
BUT I am grateful for the moments when I am able to overcome my selfishness & hurt, because in those moments I am able to SEE my husband. It’s similar to the scene in the movie “Hook”. Peter Pan comes back to Neverland and looks nothing like he did before he left. He’s forgotten who he is and the Lost Boys don’t believe Tinker Bell when she tells them he is the actual Peter Pan, he’s just grown up! At one point one of the Lost Boys grabs Peter’s face and stretches it back, looking at him very focused and then says “there you are are, Peter!”
I have these moments with my husband where I remember who’s behind all the stress, anger, distance, and crap of life that cakes onto him over time. I have “there you are” moments and find myself awkwardly staring at him, soaking him in, trying to not be too hard on myself for letting life cloud my vision of him day to day.
He is not just the person who comes home later than he was scheduled – throwing my plans to the curb – He is not just the person falling asleep on the couch while I’m trying to pour my heart out to him. He is not just the person who forgets to communicate with me about what sometimes feels like everything. No, in these moments I see my husband as a person, as a man. I remember the dreams he has for his own life. I see how tired he is from running around trying to do more than is really possible. I see a person who almost refuses to accept encouragement as if it will switch something in his brain telling him he can stop trying.
Naturally this led me to think about how I as a wife can do better? How can I change this narrative? How can I encourage others to do the same?
As a Momma who works from home it’s easy for me to retreat into the bath, or my bedroom, or even my phone as soon as my hubby walks through the door. This is my way of trying to recover from a chaotic day filled with spit up, crying, laughter, sunshine, cartoons, chores, frustrations, spills etc…I forget or don’t even think about the work stresses my husband is coming home from. And if I’m really honest, I feel like whatever stress he has is different than mine. I treat him like he’s lucky to escape from our home and GO to work. This is crazy talk. I LOVE that I get to stay home with my kids. I adore the giggles, snuggles, crafts, & conversations. I know what it’s like to wish to be at home while working outside of the home, knowing that your family needs you to be at work. It’s empowering to provide for the needs of your family but emotionally difficult.
So I get caught up in a battle no one has waged against me, to justify myself and my contribution to the family. I easily start focusing on how my husband doesn’t appreciate all the work I do, or how lonely it can be staying home with tiny humans all day. I forget to stop and think of the drama he’s faced at work, the demands he has on himself when he gets home to not only be a super human but to be happy while being one.
I definitely think we both are guilty of this, but in light of Father’s Day I wanted to touch base with the Mommas out there & encourage us all to stop for a second. Let’s step outside of ourselves and remember the man that we married. As wives, let’s think about the dreams our husbands have for their life, the desires they have to fulfill our needs & to be enough. Let’s look at our husband as a person, not just a team mate, spouse, father, or bread winner, but a man. This man grieved in his own way through the same losses we have experienced, has struggled through money crunches feeling like he was to blame, he’s had to put his dreams aside at times or not even take the time to identify what those dreams are in the name of love and providing for his family.
These men in our lives, they deserve to be seen. They deserve to be appreciated. They deserve relationship. They deserve our gratitude & our respect.
This may seem extremely difficult to do because of our own hurts or this may seem as easy as pie. Either way, appreciating the men in our life for their hard work & the people they are outside of their family duties I think will be the best gift ever!
Comment below and let me know how amazing the men in your life are! It doesn’t have to be a husband, it can be anyone who deserves a shout out this Father’s Day, let’s celebrate them together.