Sunday, June 16, 2013

Daddy is Yin, Father is Yang

A daddy lets his kids lurk late.
He teaches them to romp in the mud,
to slide into home plate in the rain.
He shows them how to use a sleeve as a napkin.
He induces giggles.
He tickles. He wrestles.
He growls like a bear, but never means it.
He lets them win.
He agrees to a movie night (again), serves ham sandwiches on paper plates for dinner,
lets them eat in front of the TV, leaves a pile of crumbs on the counter. 
He brings home everyone’s favorite candies, dishes out gallons of ice cream,
covers it with chocolate sauce…asks if they want more when they’re finished.
He carries them on his broad shoulders and lets them ride him like the world’s most amazing pony.
A daddy is physical, indulgent, and funny.

A father keeps his kids in line.
He teaches them to take care of their bicycles by bringing them inside,
to save their money and plan out how to spend it.
He shows them how to water the garden.
He provides.
He is responsible. He reminds others of their responsibilities.
He expects a lot, and he gets it. He growls like a bear, and we all know he means it.
He lets them experience natural consequences.
He worries about sump pumps and electrical outlets, leaky roofs and broken hot water heaters,
teaches his children character through his model, and knows “discipline” means “to teach”.
If he has to, he can even put his little girl’s hair into a ponytail, even when he’s never done one before—
because she has ballet or ball at 5, and mommy just isn’t available to do it this time.
He thinks about retirement and having a college fund for each kid, tries his best to make sacrifices so he can be present at ballgames, recitals, and “Doughnuts With Dad” at the elementary school.
He carries the weight of the family on his broad shoulders, lets them lean on him when they need to.
A father is diligent, reliable, and loving.

Rare is the man
who strikes that careful balance between the two,  
who can balance yin and yang.
Rare is the man who is both “daddy” and “father”.

Happy Father's Day to my husband, the "father" and "daddy" to my children, to my own dad, and to my father-in-law. Each of these men find their own balance between "daddy" and "father", and each does it his own way. I admire them all.
photo credit: Gruenemann via photopin cc