Recently I found a file my mom kept when I studied abroad my junior year of college with all the emails and letters I sent home. They perfectly chronicled the six months Jeff and I spent in London, and I loved reading through them and remembering not just the experiences we had - but also the way I was feeling at the time and all the things I was learning while I was there.
Anyway, one thing that stood out to me in the emails was the difference between the way I wrote to my mom and the way I wrote to my dad. The emails were typically addressed to both of them, but the tone made them clearly more directed at my mom. (My excessive use of the word "girl" and full paragraphs about the street-style and how frizzy my hair had gotten in the humidity, for example.) In the body of the emails, I often shared bits of my heart - like how things were going with Jeff and how homesick I was at times. But, at the end of the email, there was almost always a paragraph specifically written to my dad. It usually read something like this...
Dad, don't forget that my rent is due on the 21st - do you still have some checks of mine? Also, I'm expecting a new shipment of prescriptions sometime soon - can you send them to me? THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU!
Reading those little caveats made me really sad. My sweet dad had already done so much so that I could have that experience and been SO happy and genuinely excited for my adventures, and there I was talking "business," and making requests, and fully expecting that he would take care of everything...
And, you know what? He always did. My dad is one of the most selfless and giving men I know... He responded to every one of my emails with enthusiasm (even about my hair) and generosity, and he never once complained (at least to me).
So, first, I'm sorry Dad. I wish I had taken more time to send you your own emails and letters filled with reports of the cool cars Jeff kept pointing out on the street, or the good food we were eating, or how much I knew you would have loved the Irish Pub down the street.
Reading those old emails got me thinking about the work of dads.
There is a lot of talk in the blog-world about the work of moms - how many "hats" we wear, responsibilities we carry, how our "job is never done." And, don't get me wrong, I agree with all those things. I'll be the first to admit that sometimes I even get a little jealous of Jeff when he comes home from work and gets to just play with Sam instead of worrying about things like schedules and appointments and routines. I might have even said something like "Dads have it so easy" before.
But, more and more, I'm learning that the work of dads, although often different from the work of moms, is just as important, and just as hard.
I'm a "spotlight" kind-of girl (as if the fact that I have a blog at all wasn't proof enough). Most of my "work" for our family is done in visible or tangible ways; but, Jeff's work is often behind the scenes. He is the one usually orchestrating the complicated details that make what is "seen" actually possible (not to mention, look a lot better).
He is never really "off duty" either.
Today, I am remembering the work of dads all over. I'm thanking God for an incredible dad that set my standard HIGH for the men in my life, and gave me opportunities and experiences I am beyond grateful for. I'm thanking God for an amazing father-in-law who raised a strong man who knows about hard work and commitment to family. And, I'm thanking God for giving me an amazing partner in this thing called parenting. I'm so blessed to parent beside my best friend and a man that I respect SO much.
Happy Father's Day!!
*I'm really hoping you guys know me well enough to know that this is NOT intended to be about the roles of men and women or any of that other debatable mess. I'm a working momma, and Jeff and I share almost every job in our home. This is just about thanking some great dads in my life, and remembering that we ALL do important work. Thanks.