This post originally appeared on Jersey Moms Blog. It’s about a year old but seemed fitting today, both for my own husband and because I’ve been thinking about the uncle who inspired it. With so much talk of women leaning in and men wondering about their roles now that times are changing, this seemed fitting again to read.
Our commute here has changed lately, but the work-ethic and motivation for it haven’t. The Husband still wakes early and sleeps late so that his children, and wife, are afforded a lifestyle they love. We are grateful to him for it…most days. If you are a dad, if you have a dad or if you ever had a dad, you should appreciate the sentiment of today’s post. Share it with someone you love.
I went to a funeral for The Husband’s uncle. I won’t go into that story because it’s not mine to tell, but I did hear something that morning that went right through me.
During the memorial speech one of The Sons said, “Our Dad got on that train every morning for forty years so that we could ride bikes and go to the beach.”
It’s a different kind of life here in these far out NYC suburbs. Men and women ride hours on a train every day, twice a day to go to jobs that provide for their families. Often there’s talk of relocation or quality of life. I know for one I tend toward resentment. I hate that train and that job for stripping away so much of our time with husband and dad. Sometimes, in my darkest moments, I even resent Him for making the choice to get on it every morning time and again. Why can’t we live closer? Why can’t he work closer? Why do we do it? Is it worth it?
From now on, when I think to be angry over the distance and the commute and The City that gets so much of His time, I’ll hear that Son who said, “so we could ride bikes and go to the beach”. He said those words with pure adoration and gratitude. Gratitude for the man who rode the train and adoration for the man who taught him to work hard and provide-without complaint.
I’m sure his dad loved his job as I’m sure my husband loves his. I’m sure his dad wished he could be home more and at work, or at least commuting from work, less. But he didn’t talk about what he wished. Instead he just did what he should, much like his nephew does today.
I think in an age where as women we’re supposed to be continuing the fight for equality and our men/dad’s are supposed to take more active parenting roles, we forget, or are afraid, to simply celebrate them for the sometimes traditional jobs they do. The Husband works-hard. Really, really hard. He wakes early and rests late with very little complaint. He gets up on Saturday and runs from sport to sport and recital to recital. He even throws laundry in on Sundays between quarters of a football games. He hasn’t shot a round of golf in I don’t know how long. He doesn’t have poker games or weeknight boys’ nights. He works. He takes care of us. Sometimes he sleeps. He comes alive on weekends when he genuinely seems to enjoy our company. That time is precious.
He does most of this work quietly, without complaint or requests for thanks. It is traditional man’s work and sometimes I worry that I should be embarrassed about it. In this modern world, I feel very un-modern sometimes because of our roles. I’m afraid that’s gotten in the way of me saying thank you nearly enough and worrying about what we don’t have instead of focusing on all that we do.
I take comfort in knowing my kids will feel like that Son did someday. When my kids are grown, they won’t look back at a father they thought was never there. They will treasure the time they did have with their dad when they were young and they will be grateful for all that he did to ensure that they could ride bikes and go to the beach.
And I will be proud, as I am now, of the Man I had the pleasure of watching him become.
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