by Melissa D. Jaramillo
As an adult, I pray that my understanding and appreciation of the value of "fatherhood" has grown. I am quite fortunate to have in my life two wonderful examples of what a real father should be.
There are literally thousands of memories to reflect upon from my own dad. I desperately wish for time to write them all, but for now I simply have them recorded on my heart, pulling them out one by one to treasure.
I recall him sharing the world around us -- pointing out when it was important to use caution, but teaching a lesson of not allowing fear to paralyze one from reaching to move forward.
His love of reading and ever seeking to learn more inspired me to do the same -- creating a quest for knowledge and love of education that I now share with my own children.
I'll admit that my father was not a man without fault. but even within those he gave me valuable lessons. Just as with the players he coached over the years, he presented his own mistakes as opportunities to improve. As a pitcher may improve his accuracy or a batter may correct his stance and swing, thus was the action of my dad. Perhaps even when he did not necessarily appreciate that he was doing so, he admitted (if only to himself) when he wasn't the best he knew he was capable of...made the necessary adjustments and then stepped up to try again.
My husband is my best friend. I sit here trying to find the words to express just how much that means but feel each sentence is bound to be inadequate. With him, I was able to discover the true meaning of love -- not just that which may exist between a man and a woman but the unconditional type that we feel blessed with witnessing among our fellow man, our children, and yes, even received from our God.
In reflecting on his role as father, I know that he does not recognize the priceless gifts that he presents to his children -- and his wife. He views our children, each and every one, as a gift versus an ever-growing burden. In a culture that ridicules those with choosing life, his openness to accept God's plan is our family is honorable.
Among my most precious memories is during and at the birth of our children. I laugh! Who on earth laughs during labor? But to know my husband, to see his face so full of love and elation as he welcomes a new child, is indeed fodder for jubilation.
As I watch him interact with all of our kids -- even while tired after a long day's work, I am captivated by the sense of love and security he presents to our family. He doesn't expect or demand perfection, may share some tough lectures from time to time out of truly caring about our children's future, but encourages by example. Our kids respond to that, feeling free to share their delight and excitement in all they have learned, feeling free to ask questions, and down to the youngest...shadowing his footsteps so closely that he fears turning less he tread upon them.
Certainly our relationship -- both as a couple and as a family -- has not been without incident or times of trials and challenges. My respect and admiration however was earned (along with that of our children's) as we continually renew our commitment to our marriage and our family -- together. Today's families are submersed in a "me" society that views the vows of marriage as mere nuisances and more often than not seen as an obstacle. Through the years, I have witnessed my husband's evaluation of our life together and his ultimate recognition of our family as a blessing, faults and all.