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The Grat-i-Dad Challenge

Posted by Patience on July 9, 2010 at 6:18 AM in Fatherhood
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papa goodness.jpg

It was a quick dig, something slightly critical about his parenting in the middle of a discussion. We were in the thick of everyday life, probably both needing a break. I was tired and annoyed but the truth is, if he had said it to me it would have been a way bigger deal. We talked it out and came to some conclusions but the next morning I woke up and wondered. I wondered if he knows how much I appreciate and respect him as a man and a father. I wondered if I don't tell him enough. I wondered if he even knows these things about himself. I have found wondering is a good invitation to act, to find out.

papa goodness1.jpg

So I made a list and sent it to him:

I want you to know...

I love the way you match Lucy's pitch when you say goodbye to her.
I love the way you help Josiah with his math even though he tries to get you to just tell him the answer.
I love how you make sound effects when you play wrestle with Jackie on the back of his head.
I love how you constantly try to get someone to fall for the "underwear" joke.
I love how you make a joke or throw out something light just at the moment when I am about to be too hard in my discipline.
I love how you can see things that my mother heart can't or doesn't really want to see.
I love how your standard of parenting is so high, you will never reach your view of perfection and will never stop trying.
I love how you will cry in kid movies.
I love how when you go to the party supply store and walk through the favor aisle and see neon friendship bracelets, you instanly pick up six in each person's favorite color.
I love how you will play family DJ and dance with our kids in the living room, even the silly stuff.
I love how laid back you are to let all the little things go and yet have a keen intuition to know when something is really important.
I love how deeply and fully you love.
I love how we are everything to you.

I realized we need more of this, everyone needs more of this as we roll along in life. We need to know that what we do matters, that we are seen. I know I do, especially when it isn't Mother's day. So I'm wondering, right here in the middle of summer, if we can start a challenge together, the Grat-i-Dad Challenge. Let's write in the comment section one thing we love, appreciate or respect about the dads in our lives, just because or for no reason at all. It can be any dad, your dad, your partner, even just a friend. I bet our dads will love it, and we can stop wondering...together.

You can read more dad goodness here too.


jill writes...

i love that my husband strives to be the dad that his wasn't, by meeting and connecting with his children as they are, not as who he thinks they should be...
even as trying as that can be sometimes. ;-)

Alexis writes...

I love watching my husband play with our son and making him smile. I love that he knows how to make our son smile. I love that, even when he doesn't fully understand, he goes along with my decisions to do things like cosleep, delay vaccines, and cloth diaper our son. I LOVE seeing my husband wear our son in his cool skulls ring sling.

Jorge writes...

Thank you for this reminder... it makes me want to be a better husband and father.

I also love my father for providing and working so hard and loving us through hard times.

Erica writes...

You and I are on the same wavelength - Yesterday on my FB acct., I posted this invitation: "Invitation: Choose someone in your family to serve this week, without anyone else but you knowing it. Do a little extra something for that special someone everyday. Write a sweet note, wash the dishes or some other chore that they normally do, give 'em an extra hug or two just because... and see how your love will grow." ...It's like being a Secret Santa.

I know that my love, respect and happiness grows when I serve those I love. And my perspective changes from "have-to's, gottas and housekeeping" to "I-get-to, I-want-to, and housecaring." Whether positive or negative, our actions speak volumes. So, yesterday, I made Dear Husband a "just-because" delicious sandwich (love makes it extra delish!) as he watched his fave TV show (to unwind after a long workday), and consciously focused on speaking softly (I can be loud) and really listening to him. It created a beautiful, peaceful dynamic between us. I love Mike for so many reasons, and tell him often. This week I'm extra-focused on matching my actions with my words. :)

Katie writes...

I love that my husband has put his own dreams on hold to stay home and raise our kids. I love that he is firm when he needs to be but always tells our son that he loves him. I love when he's the "Dada ladder" or human jungle gym. I love how much of a kick he gets out of our daughter smiling at him.

Jill writes...

I love that my father never did, and still doesn't let me, just slide when I mess up. I also love that he continually supports me when I need it most.

Melanie writes...

I love how my husband relates to and deals with our autistic son so beautifully. My hubby travels for work, and so people who see just me & my son out and about compliment me on my parenting skills, but they have no idea exactly how much of our boy's pretty good public behavior and polite manners is due to serious Daddy effort and discipline. We agree on how to work with our boy, and that's made decisions quite easy. Whether or not a child has special needs, consistency is key!

Toni writes...

I created a Facebook page called "Daddies Rock!" for my husband a while back. It was his father's day gift this year. It absolutely AMAZES me every day to see what an awesome father he is. He's an electrician, and after a long, hard, hot day on the construction site, he still has enough positive energy to come home and play Legos or color or have a tea party with our daughter every single afternoon, before he does anything else -- even taking a few minutes for himself.

I dunno if my "daddy bar" is just incredibly low because of my own dad (he was never abusive, but he never went out of his way to even attempt to be anything more than a mediocre dad), or if my husband really IS just a super-awesome dad, but I appreciate him every day for all the things he does for our daughter and our family.

patience writes...

i love how positive and hopeful my dad is...and how he believes and encourages he never gives up.

Essie writes...

I love that my husband has given me and my little girl the gift of having a family. My parents were both so withdrawn that I never knew what it was like to have a smile and wonderful arms to come home to every day. I love how he makes my daughter laugh out loud -on the floor rolling- every day. He is our hero and in his eyes I see how beautiful we really are.

Sima writes...

My husband died almost four years ago, leaving me with our then 1-year old son. I wish I could tell him daily how much I love all these little things that I'm sure he'd do.

I love that my husband was so committed to fatherhood in the short time he was alive after our son was born. And I love when I look at my son and he's doing something that his dad did--whether it's a facial expression or a body position--or when he shows his father's skill with tools, math, science, cars. I love that there's still that unpredictable, interesting part of my son to discover.

Bbob writes...

My dad is no longer with us, but I hope he somehow knows how I will always feel about him. The most admirable traits my father had were his sense of honor and responsibility. If Dad said it, you could take it to the bank. He was admired and respected by all who knew him: family, friends, business associates, even those who disagreed with him professionally or personally. You've heard the question, "What would Jesus do?" My question is, "What would Dad do?" I love you, Dad.

Kate writes...


Thanks for always supporting my interests and being willing to share any you had with me. I know you wanted a "lawnmower" when I was born as per your fabled dismayed exclaimation in the deli very room.

I'm also glad you took the doctor's retort to heart, and realized girls could do anything boys can, even if I never actually -did- mow your lawn. I carry that confidence with me today.

Elisabeth writes...

I love that my father continually matures as he gets older, instead of becoming more and more "like himself" as some older people do. I also love that he is always willing to listen to me, even when I am just sort of allowing myself to talk, not sharing something important.

Amber writes...

I love that my husband manages to never take anything too seriously, without making light of it. It's such a gift, and it keeps our family going in the right direction.

Kate writes...

My husband sees our kids for who they are and encourages me to be the mom I want to be. I love how silly he can be.

My dad included us. Which showed me I could do things.

Jen lemen writes...

i appreciate how my dad is so excited to see me and calls me to see how i'm doing, always offering the just right bit of advice.

and i appreciate how my kids' dad is the kind of person that the kids in the neighborhood really love and feel close and connected to because of the little things he tends to their needs--like making pancakes or serving up snacks at just the right time.

brea writes...

I love how my husband sings any song, or makes up words to a song, with a country twang... even though he hates country music! (sorry to all the country music lovers!) It is hilarious and he has me and the kids rolling with laughter! He definitely knows how to break the tension right at the perfect time!!

tina writes...

i love that my dad is real - what you see is what you get - and he makes no apologies for being himself.

i love my dad's inginuity - if we couldn't get what we wanted, he figured out how to use what we had.

these are the 2 gifts he has given me that i treasure most.

mmh1 writes...

I love my husband for being so silly with our son. He makes up for my lack of silliness. I look forward to continuing our journey together as parents. We learn as much about each other as our we do about our son!

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