It’s Father’s Day 2017. Bray gets the ever challenging task of serving as father to three seven year olds. Oh sure, it has its rewards. There are moments of their idol worship of dad. But all too often, it’s a thankless job and they’re going through a pretty sassy period where respectfulness isn’t their strong suit.
I was talking to my dad a few weeks ago. Bray and I were not having the best relationship week. My dad reminded me where to focus. He’d just gotten off the phone with Bray and the eldest. They were at Home Depot when my dad called them. The eldest hopped on the phone and in rapturous excitement shared he and daddy were buying wood to build a backyard fort together.
That’s right. The boys decided, and the baby designed on a sheet of paper, a treehouse was exactly what our backyard needed. Never you mind we have very little space around our pool and we have no appropriate trees to hold such a structure. They were going to build a treehouse on the ground (well, on a platform and the platform would be on the ground). So Bray agreed. They bought wood and they’ve been working mornings and evenings building a backyard fort.
I remember my dad’s comment, how many men are building from scratch forts in the backyard with their kids?
This year alone, and this is a far from exhaustive list, he managed all this:
- He drove all five of us on a VERY long road trip to Big Bend and back (and even managed to get me a long-wanted cavern tour on the way home);
- He helped Santa figure out how to assemble and deliver a new basketball goal;
- He spent all of last summer running “Camp Bray” which involved big adventures (solo) with the kids at the farm and ranch riding horses and fishing and baling hay and cooking out;
- He coached the boys baseball team and attended dozens of soccer matches/basketball games/swim meets;
- He attended every school and church musical or performance and we got the best seats possible;
- He humored me with elaborately planned outfits for pumpkin patch photo shoots;
- He managed every aspect of our family budget and managed to get us completely out of debt;
- He read eight zillion pages of books with the kids every night for homework;
- He sat with the kids as we attended our first funeral with the kids and helped answer tough questions;
- He taught the kids chores and even though it is regularly met with great resistance he persists by demanding they fold clothes and sweep floors and unload the dishwasher so they don’t grow up entitled or helpless;
- He’s building a from scratch “backyard fort” with design by the boys;
- He’s shown the kids they are safe and secure and loved, the ultimate success for any father.
No dad, or mom, is perfect. We muck it up and hope our kids don’t need therapy. But Bray prays for, and with, the kids. Bray hugs and kisses the kids. Bray shows up and is honestly engaged with doing life with them.
So, to my favorite father of three seven year olds, Happy Father’s Day from the crew. We are incredibly thankful for you.