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Live your Dash – An Ode to Dads Everywhere

I gripe about my husband all the time, and I’m sure in some way you can all understand.

My husband: “Babe, where’s the (fill in the blank)?”

Me: “It’s on the counter, to the left of the fridge.”

My husband: Comes upstairs (or into the family room) “I don’t know, I can’t find it.”

Me: Exasperated, get up from my desk, go in to the kitchen, look to the left of the fridge, BOOM! There it is. Imagine that.

I mean what is it? Is it a guy thing? My son does it too. Standing in the middle of the family room: “Mommy, I can’t find my water bottle.”

Me: “Jaxon look around, make sure you’re looking everywhere.”

Jax: “I did Mommy, I can’t find it.”

Me, as we’re trying to leave the house to be on time: “Jaxon it’s right there on the coffee table.” (right in front of you, I want to exclaim!)

But here’s the reality. The husbands or partners we have balance us out. The boys we are raising will one day turn into someone else’s husband and/or Dad. Patience is a virtue, as my Mom used to tell me. And sometimes I run short with my husband.

While we know that moms (that’s us) are the unsung heroes of the family. Many times Dad doesn’t get the recognition and words of affirmation he deserves.

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So, in honor of Father’s day, I wanted to get out some thoughts and sentiments as somewhat of an ode to our partners in crime, our own Dads, Grandpas and any other Dad that is rocking it out there.

I just recently lost my Dad and so this post is a reflection on the things I wish I had told him more, and those that I need to remember to tell my husband more.

At my Dad’s funeral I stood up and read a poem called Live your Dash: Make Every Moment Matter by Linda Ellis.

Here is an excerpt of the poem:12115582_10154347667473492_8175975123508259890_n

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
from the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

Dads are such an important part of all of our lives. If we’re really lucky they’re not only a partner and best friend to us moms; they enrich the lives of our children too.

Here are a few things I want to make sure to share with my husband on Father’s day and each day and year to come as we celebrate his role in all of our lives.

Dads are the benchmark for which our children base relationships on, good or bad, fully present or absent our children internalize the behaviors and love that their Dad’s provide to them. Our children emulate what they are subjected to. They are a product of their environments. Girls will pick a boy (usually) that is everything her Daddy is and was, and will revel and bask in the characteristics that he showered her in. Our boys will base their sense of self and normalcy on the behaviors they see at home. Does Dad cook? Clean? Read a good night story? Was he kind to Mommy? Was he supportive? Did they fight? Did they hug? Boys and girls, big and small will absorb every ounce of that which is present in their homes. “Don’t marry a man unless you would be proud to have a son exactly like him.”

One thing to remember to tell the Dad’s in our lives: You’re doing your best. Go-to-work Dads work really hard and miss a lot of time at home. And while, as Moms, we sometimes are jealous of that “freedom” (I know I am sometimes) – think about all the things they miss out on. Maybe a first step, a first word, the time they dressed up in his clothes, shoes and tie. And although we instagrammed it, it’s not always the same as being there, physically in the moment.

12143195_10154338449678492_6262619374591886842_nAnother thing to tell Dad: You don’t miss everything, just because you missed one thing. Dads tend to be the more physical participants in their child’s life; be it wrestling, running, or sports. Or, the annoying stuff Dad might teach the kids: farmer’s blow, wiping their mouth on their sleeve, teaching them how to dig in the dirt to find worms for fishing. My Grandad? He taught me how to spit out of a second story window at age 2 (a lesson and legacy my Mom will never forget). The importance of bonding through physical (and sometimes gross) activity between Dads and their kids is so important. This is one of our favorite books on the subject: Ready, Set, Play!

Remind the dads in your life that you appreciate their risks, their sacrifices, and the time and attention they spend with your family and away from them. While it doesn’t seem like the most obvious thing to thank your Dad for, a little recognition and affirmation can go a long way. We’re all human, after all, and like to know our efforts are appreciated.

Mothers are the comforters, the nurturers and the gentler parent.
Fathers are the more playful, prodding and risk-taking parent. 
Children need this balance in their life. If there isn’t a positive male role model in a young child’s life, 
then they miss out on all the things kids learn from a father figure. 
A boy doesn’t learn how to be a protector, how to properly treat women and how to take risks, 
while a girl doesn’t learn about teamwork, being competitive (in a good way), managing emotions 
or trusting men in general.” (Source: The Gentleman Project)

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As another Father’s Day is upon us in our beautiful home of Fairfield County, treat your husband to a day fulfilling his “Dash” a day sailing, biking, swimming, playing tennis, or just hanging with the family. Dads often don’t get the recognition they deserve, and today, of all days, let’s take a moment to be truly thankful for the Dads in our lives.

“Your children will become who you are; so be who you want them to be.” (anonymous)

 

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