Reflections on Fatherhood
June 20, 2021
Happy Father’s Day!
Fatherhood has been on my heart in a very special way this year. Probably because it is the year of Saint Joseph, probably because we added a new little one, and I’ve seen Ryan grow into his role as a dad of three with ease and joy, and probably because I have the distinct pleasure of living so close to my own father and watching him wade through these waters in a different way now that I am a mother.
I heard a powerful quote from Father Mike Schmitz just the other day: conversion is not an event, it is a process. I think the same thing can be said for fathers: fatherhood is not an event, it is a process. And it is a process that has been so beautiful to behold with the addition of each of our children.
I’m never quite sure how to adequately celebrate my husband. I’ve lived many years under the impression that I do it all, but I’m realizing how false that is. He is our grocery shopper, master chef, hardworking businessman, fun-loving dad, and so much more. When it comes time to celebrate him I realize all over again how much he does and how joyfully he does it. He wants nothing more than to spend the day as we usually do: together.
Beauty of Differences
In this season of life, I have seen more clearly the differences between men and women. I have seen more clearly how those differences work to complement each other, creating a cohesive and dynamic family life. It is the genius of God’s creation, no doubt, and this genius doesn’t box us into “gender roles” but allows the individual to use their particular gifts, adding to the richness of the family.
I’ve always avoided the cheesy line, “you complete me!” But I see now how our strengths and weaknesses make up for each other, how his gifts complement mine, and we really are better together. My less mature attitude of “I can do it all” has turned into awe of how much his distinct role adds to the beauty of our life together.
Joy of Fatherhood
Ryan is a joyful father. His face lights up when he sees his kids, he makes up games to get them to finish their dinner, and he cheers them on in the way only a father can. I learn so much from his joy and the kids absolutely delight in it. Somehow, it frees me to live my own vocation with more joy. Maybe because I have someone to count on, maybe because he teaches me not to take things so seriously, and maybe because his joy is simply contagious.
Whatever it is, I thank him from the bottom of my heart for doing all he does with such joy. It is much easier to fall into the trap of serving our families begrudgingly.
The Gift of Children
I always knew that children were a gift, but I could have never guessed at the depth of that gift. They have blessed our marriage in so many ways. Isn’t it funny that before you’re married people tell you to wait to have children so you can spend time together? I think it is funny. It is the children who have bonded our hearts together, who have expanded our capacity to love each other, who have given us a distinct mission and purpose in our life together. The gift of children goes so far beyond the obvious.
I am eternally grateful to Ryan’s father and my own, who have given us a wonderful example of what fatherhood looks like when lived well. I know his family is so proud of him just as I am. Father’s are such a gift!
I am linking you to Pope Francis’s Letter on St. Joseph. It is a beautiful reflection on fatherhood and the example of this heroic Saint.
And I will end with a quote from it:
Fathers are not born, but made. A man does not become a father simply by bringing a child into the world, but by taking up the responsibility to care for that child. Whenever a man accepts responsibility for the life of another, in some way he becomes a father to that person.Pope Francis