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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Before I get started, let me first give a shout out to my dad.  He is an amazing man of integrity, an incredible father and I am blessed to call him my dad. 

Also, let me give a shout out to my father in law.  Through his example, he taught my husband how to not only be a be a great dad but also a great man, and I am forever thankful for that. 

Dads, our lives are richer because of your love for us.  Thank you for showing us a glimpse of God the Father by the way you live your lives.  We love you.

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Mark's special plate after his delicious dinner of spare ribs, garlic mashed potatoes and spinach salad.

I have not always been a sappy mess.  I promise, I haven't.  But something happened during my first pregnancy that really ruined me for life. 

I became sentimental. 

Not the 'oh, I shed a tear occasionally at happy/sad movies' kind of sentimental, but rather the 'I sobbed nearly uncontrollably on the airplane while watching The Blind Side' kind of sentimental.  It used to embarrass me, but after about four years, I'm starting to come to terms with my sentimentality (is that even a word?)

We got an email this week that got me thinking, which then got me crying.  This email was from OrphaNetwork, which is how we found Casa Bernabe which is where the girls live.  The email was sent out to sponsors and was talking about fathers and how the kids at the orphanages in Nicaragua (and everywhere else for that matter) typically will have some good memory of their mom, but it's very rare that the kids have a good memory of their fathers.  The email went on to thank the sponsors for being a father to these kids who have no father, and encouraged the men to continue to faithfully answer to the call to father these kids in any way that they could.

I was teary after reading the email.  Teary and proud. I couldn't help but feel that Mark has knocked the ball out of the park.  Nicaragua is where our hearts are-they have been removed from their comfortable home in our bodies and transplanted in the dusty soil in Veracruz, Nicaragua.  When we first went there I had no idea what to expect.  Mark didn't speak any Spanish and up until that point, he hadn't had a lot of interaction with Latinos.  I hoped that he would feel as strongly as I do about Latin America, but I didn't really dare to hope about a long term plan.  I didn't want to be disappointed if Mark wasn't as passionate as I am.

But his response blew me away.  He did care. Passionately.  He did see the need.  He got it.  God blessed me with the opportunity to watch him perform spiritual open heart surgery on my husband.  I saw his heart leave his body and be planted in Nicaragua, and I have since witnessed his transplanted heart flourish. 

He saw the desire in the kids' eyes to have a dad.  He knew he was being watched intensely, and instead of putting on a show or constantly worrying about how his actions were being perceived, he just stayed true to himself and did what he's best at: he treated me with love and respect and parented our kids with love and consistency.  As the days passed in Nicaragua, the teenage boys began to flock to my husband.  Boys who were initially against holding babies and had been worried about losing their macho image began to call dibs on my boys.  They cradled, rocked, kissed, hugged and loved on my babies.  Because they allowed their hearts to open to the boys, they slowly began to allow us to hug on and love them

I couldn't believe what was happening in the course of just a few weeks.  Boy who had no idea what a father did were learning how to be a dad.  They began to voice their desires confidently, saying things like, "When I'm a dad I want to be a good dad, like Mark.  I want to carry my babies, love on my babies.  I'm not going to just let their mama's do all the work."

I'm sure you appreciate the significance, but allow me to explain something that may make your jaw drop even more.  This is completely counter culture for these boys.  Typical machismo culture doesn't allow for dads babying their babies.  Yet, these boys desire to live counter culture.  They desire more than what they've seen their fathers do. 

On this Father's Day of 2010, I simply marvel at my husband.  Yes, he is the father of two little boys here.  And he's a great father to them.  He's the father to three little girls in Nicaragua, and he's a great father to them as well.  But still there is more.  He's fathering 72 other kids in Nicaragua, too.  He's teaching them how to be a good father, one day at a time.  And that is one of the best gifts any dad can teach their son.

Mark, happy Father's Day.  You are truly an inspiration.  May we have many more kids and many more years to celebrate you!

All my love,
Jenni

2 comments:

Britney said...

Wow. All i can say. wow. happy fathers day to an awesome guy!

@nicolewick said...

I love this post. I'm adopted so it was very special for me to read. You both are truly blessed. Thank you for sharing this with me.