Monday, June 19, 2006

Thinking about fatherhood

Not for myself, of course. But in general.

And I'm a day late with this reflection, because who has time to think on Father's Day?

Well, okay, you got me. Lots of women who are more on top of things than I am actually posted their Father's Day posts on Father's Day. Imagine that. Read some of these wonderful tributes, reflections, and posts here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Whoosh ... I'm hered out.

Women often talk about the "kind of man" they want to marry -- the sort of father they hope that man will be to their children.

I have to confess, I didn't enter into marriage with any of the normal goals and dreams. I was rather anti-marriage for quite awhile, and when Atticus and I did get married, we were both opposed to children. Not in general, of course, but for ourselves. Didn't need them, didn't want them. So, it would have been absurd for me to think about what kind of father Atticus would become. It wasn't going to enter into the equation.

Then came my conversion. God worked his tricky magic and changed my heart. I wanted a child. Miraculously, God's tricky magic worked on Atticus's heart, too (regarding children, at any rate; Catholicism came later for him.)

Enter Child #1. When Anne was born, it became immediately apparent what kind of father Atticus would be. He loved her madly and would do anything for her. He was bewitched, beguiled, and beside himself with the joy of this miracle thing called "our baby." She was entirely too beautiful and perfect for this world, and he recognized that the first time his eyes locked on her little cross-eyed ones. She was his. He was hers.

And the same thing happened with Betsy and Ramona. It was love at first EPT-sight. He knew the beauty of what was coming and he was all for it. One hundred percent, completely in favor of it and devoted to these little girls long before they were born.

Why? Because that's the kind of man he is, the kind of husband he is. His love for his wife spills out and over to his love for his children and that's the most basic test of "what kind of father will this man be?" Does he love his wife beyond all words and reason? Then he'll love his children with the same expansive heart.

I didn't know it at the time, couldn't have known, but in the fatherhood department I chose well. I chose a man with a good heart. And that heart has seen us through with an unselfishness, a patience and an openness to life that neither of us could have predicted in those "anti-child" days.

Our merciful God was kind to me beyond all reason and justice. When I didn't have a clue what "that kind of man" was, He gave me one anyway. Thank you, Father.


Cay G. said...

That's beautiful, Karen. :)

arlawless said...

Yes, I agree. So beautiful indeed.

Karen E. said...

Many thanks to both of you!