The morning was cold and not just in respects to the temperature outdoors, but in conjunction with the trepidation I had felt for DAYS leading up to this heart-wrenching moment.
He walked into the room of our sleeping princess, our first born, and awakened her with a delicate kiss, trembling voice and asked her to join us on the couch. He stood in the doorway of his room next, our first boy, his miniature twin visibly apparent at the tender age of three and stared as his chest rose and fell.
He watched, memorizing his sleeping face.
Ever so slowly he knelt by his bedside and scooped him up. Almost in sync, our sleepy boy threw his arms around his father’s neck and held on. Once situated on the couch he motioned for the last child, the six-week old baby we both deemed “our peace baby”, and there he sat with “the treasures”, he called, his holding on to all of them, smelling their scents, committing their faces to his memory.
And then he departed, leaving his most valued possessions behind.
His love as a father was never more apparent than in that very moment.
He loved them and I knew it.
In his book, Fatherless America, David Blankenhorn examines the undervalued role of fathers. He states, “Today American society is fundamentally divided and ambivalent about the fatherhood idea. Some people do not even remember it. Others are offended by it. Others, including more than a few family scholars, neglect it or disdain it. Many others are not especially opposed to it, nor are they especially committed to it. Many people wish we could act on it, but believe that our society simply no longer can or will.”
As a community that often experiences the prolonged absence of Fathers, we can attest to the fact that fatherhood roles are irreplaceable. In recent history, a precedent has been set claiming that the responsibility of fatherhood ends at conception. The notion that the father is simply a third party babysitter rather than an active participant in his child’s life is becoming the popular opinion.
In his speech on fatherhood, President Barack Obama indicated that fathers are ever important.
He stated, “Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it.”