Like Father, Like Son-in-law
The lamp perfectly highlighted the gnawed peach pit resting on the wooden end table. It clearly should have been thrown into a trash receptacle, but that would have required someone moving from the couch and missing part of the game currently being televised.
“Who left their peach pit there?” My mother asked with disdain in her voice.
The peaches came from the Big Peach, a farmstand off Hwy. 41 in Bruceville. When peaches were in season, my parents would stop and buy a bag to bring with them to Evansville on their drive down from Northwest Indiana.
My husband doesn’t like peaches. Never has. I will only eat them peeled and cut into pieces because I don’t like furry fruit. There was only one other person in the room, and he had been eating peaches continuously since arriving at our home.
“Really, who left that there?” My mom asked again.
I snuck a sideways glance at my dad. He grinned, and quietly said, “It wasn’t me.”
He was the most lovable rascal, although infuriating to my mom.
Lovable rascal...this seems to define many of the men in my life who take on the role of father. Uncles, grandfathers, mentors...and especially the priests I have had the honor of working with throughout my career. It certainly defines the father of my children: a man who embodies the goals Pope Francis has outlined for a father.
“That he be close to his wife, to share everything, joy and sorrow, hope and hardship,” Pope Francis said. “And that he be close to his children as they grow: when they play and when they strive, when they are carefree and when they are distressed, when they are talkative and when they are silent, when they are daring and when they are afraid, when they take a wrong step and when they find their path again.”
The phrase “Just wait until your father gets home!” doesn’t work on my children any more than it did on me when I was a child. Dad’s arrival is not something to be feared, but a celebration of someone to play with, tinker in the garage and share sports stats with while watching the latest ball game. Just as my mom was, I am outnumbered.
The other day, at the end of a long week, I returned home to find a half-empty drink container left in the garage. As my family greeted me, I asked who left the drink where it didn’t belong.
I asked again, with a bit more annoyance in my voice.
My husband, giving me a sideways grin, said quietly, “It wasn’t me.”
Happy Father’s Day to all the men who help train our children in the way they need to go.