My Husband’s First Father’s Day
Last year was Doug’s first Father’s Day. It was a day I had been prepping for even before we had kids. You see, Doug lost his father as a teenager and every Father’s Day since has been a little hard on him. He’s done an incredible job of celebrating my father, but I can always tell there is an element of sadness on that June day and he always seems somewhat removed. That all being said, I knew this first one would be hard and I wanted to make it unforgettable AND fun.
Baseball was Doug and his dad’s thing. Whether tossing the ball around, taking on the respective coach:player roles or watching games, America’s game was their bond. When we found we were having a boy, I knew visions of baseball with his son danced in Doug’s head. In some ways I’m sure those visions were missing a key element and because of that were painful in a way I couldn’t quite understand.
With all of this in mind, I knew the best way to honor Doug, as well as his memories with his dad, would be to incorporate baseball. So, I went about planning and collecting items all while he dropped hints that baseball would be an awesome way to celebrate his day. In an effort to maintain surprise, I made it seem as if I had other plans for him and each time I did that I saw a tiny bit of disappointment on his face. It hurt my heart but I knew the joy in realizing the truth would be well worth it.
The morning of Father’s Day arrived and Doug awoke with that same reservation that he had expressed each year prior. I left him in bed, seeing he was aching in a familiar yet also new way, and took Fischer to get coffee and our favorite breakfast tacos. Once home, I arranged the breakfast and random gifts on the kitchen table. In our bedroom I could hear ESPN’s special on Art Briles and his own Father’s day story. Thanks a lot, ESPN. Art Briles happens to be Doug’s favorite coach (Baylor Bear alumni! ‘Sic Em!) and also happens to have a moving story! So whether it was the show or his own thoughts that produced the blood-shot eyes and sniffles as he emerged from the room, I’ll never know.
Doug sat down and took in the set-up at the table. He opened his whiskey-soaked jerky and took a bite, he quizzically inspected the bottle of beard oil (yes, that thing on your face needs to be soft and manicured. As much for you as for me, my friend) and he tenderly spun his new coffee mug adorned with Fischer’s handprint on it. He then noticed that while I was holding Fischer, I was also hiding him from sight and asked me why. As many times as I’d envisioned his reaction to this next moment, nothing could actually prepare me. I moved so he could see Fischer, who was now dressed in a brand-new Astros jersey, watched as tears swelled over his eyes and he reached to cradle his son in an amazingly beautiful and poignant way. My heart exploded. Success.
Later that day, our little family made it to the ballpark. I ate up every moment of Doug’s interaction with Fischer that day. I know somewhere in there he desperately wished his dad could be there. (Heck, I wished that too!) Yet he was the happiest I think I’d ever seen him. We had a great time at the game, Doug knew this wasn’t their first and certainly wouldn’t be their last together! The tradition of loving baseball began with his father, but, as I told him, it can and will be continued with his son. The Astros don’t always have a home game on Father’s day but they do have games AROUND Father’s day to attend. Then again, some of Doug’s best memories are of simply tossing the ball in the front yard so there’s that option too. One day he will share stories with Fischer of his baseball loving grandpa and these days spent together amongst bats, baseballs, and gloves will be all the sweeter.
This Father’s day, if you haven’t already, make something a new tradition for daddy and baby. In our busy worlds daddies aren’t always able to take the time and create lasting moments the way mommies often are able to. So, on this day, of all days, perhaps the best gift..better than a new grill or power-tool…is that of uninterrupted time to make a lasting memory with the child or children they love most.
I hope all the daddies out there have an incredible Father’s Day this year. I would love to hear how you all honor the men in your lives that take on the role of daddy in your kids’ lives. Please feel free to leave comments and stories!
p.s. hopefully in the future he’ll stay awake past the 2nd inning 🙂
p.p.s confession, I needed tissues next to me to write this one! While it was definitely one of Doug’s favorite days so far, it swelled my heart to see the immeasurable joy in my husband all day.