As I write this, I am sitting in the Baltimore airport awaiting a connection. I’m watching people. In fact, I sat in an airport restaurant eating lunch earlier so that I could look out and watch people. I’ve been given this down time and the privilege of observing us. I’ve just seen four dads walk by. The dads caught my attention because I am one, and I have been ALL of these four men.
The first had a baby strapped to his chest, and HUGE baby carrier over one arm and a HUGE diaper bag over the other shoulder. He was having some trouble walking. It’s only 2:00 PM, but clearly it’s been a long day for him. He was alone. Single parenting, whether it is temporary or permanent is so difficult. I saw the strain and the dedication in this man’s body.
The second had a baby strapped to his chest. He had a diaper bag over one shoulder and what appeared to be a food bag over the other. He was keeping a good clip, and who appeared to be the mother of the child walked along with him. She looked relaxed and relieved. So did he. Having someone to share in child-raising is so powerful.
The third caught my attention because of the animated way he was talking to his daughter who held his hand. She appeared to be about 3. He talked to her as if this was the most important thing he had to do all day. He pushed a stroller with the other hand, baby sleeping inside. He was alone. I couldn’t tell if he was faking it or making it. It didn’t matter. His daughter loved it.
The fourth was carrying a two year old, walking with an 4 year old and his wife. He was irritated: “stop whining.” She looked exhausted. Sometimes, just getting to the end of the journey in one piece is all that we can do.
Four different pictures of human nature in dads. Dedication, intensity, creativity, exhaustion. These are some of the pieces who make us who we are. Which ever ones are you and I right now are ours to own and to live into.
Yes indeed you have been all of those dads…. and as a witness to those years I think you made it! I think showing up for your children and your partner every day in the midst of struggle, joy, sorrow, elation, all of it… has made the difference in the lives of 4 people on his earth… a forever difference and it doesn’t get better than that.