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Men Who Are Fathers
Posted: Thursday, June 22, 2006

For Emmanuel, my late father, his sons, and all the men like him whom I admire.

By Linda E. Edwards

They come home every day, to help in nurturing, rearing, feeding; sometimes, only by being there, but they come home. They come, often from jobs they do not like, but hesitate to change jobs because there is a family to feed.

They learn early to put others first, helpless, dependent children, who need them. They tuck in children at night, and offer a stern word of guidance, a leg to jounce on, shoulders to ride on when your tiny legs can no longer carry you, or when you can't see the parade because taller legs block your view.

They are giants you look up to, and only later, you realize that they are average sized men, but in the childhood drawings they tower over the house. They know nothing of "visitation rights" or having you over for the holidays, because they live in the house of their children, which is where fathers belong, keeping children secure.

They are not daddies who love you in absentia, but fathers who are there in the home with you, except as job responsibilities may take them away for a while to faraway places, from which they return, pockets bulging with goodies.

They help preserve the culture of the family, of getting an education, making something of yourself, being responsible, doing this even while surrounded by aspects of alienness that seem to be pulling in another direction.

They want for you all that's best for you, and know the meaning of "no" said in many ways but meaning, NO.

They know that love is not always soft, but full of sweat, tears, dirty diapers, and crying babies in the night. They know that love is full of accidents and I'm sorry, but being men, they are there for the long haul, and to rejoice with you when you say "I made it!".

They know that you, long years after, could say with authority, "My father said so", and speak truth, because a father does not lie to his child.

They know the meaning of sacrifice, of putting aside twenty-five years of me first, of going against nature, to nurture, to raise a family, and then collecting the fragments of self left over, and trying to move on again, with their own dreams; but some never get to that place, death intervenes.

They know that fatherhood means being the banker for loans, the counselor for crises, and being that giant frame filling the doorway when danger threatens, and his mere presence says, "they shall not pass" - a haven in the storm of life. And they know, with certainty, that even if they do not live up to every ideal, it is worth it in life to keep trying, never giving up on the fruit of their loins; knowing that fathering includes staying to raise them, and is a trait worth passing on.

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