Today’s military family is different from those of the past. What use to be easily distinguished roles between husband and wife are now blurred past recognition. My father who turns 73 in a month served in the Navy in the late fifties. He loved the Navy and loves telling stories of his days on board ship. There were no women on his Carrier and his mindset was, “That’s how it should be.” His wife was to be at home raising children, cooking, and cleaning.
He served four years, and then went on to be a Police Detective for over 21 years. Growing up, I knew my father loved my three siblings and I very much, but he couldn’t tell you which blanket belonged to whom, what our favorite cereal was, or what our grades were in school. He never gave us baths, cooked our meals, or cleaned up after us. He was from a different era. He worked every day of his life, sometimes more than one job at a time, just to provide for us. He may not have been a hands on Dad, but he loved us more than I will ever know.
Our culture is different now. Dads are more involved than ever. Today’s service men do not just go out and protect the world from harm; they come home and take part in their homes and their children’s lives. A great example of this is my husband.
With a soon to be 13 year old son and a 9 year old daughter, my husband is a very well rounded Dad. When he is home, he is our Son’s coach and biggest fan. They hang out and have their “Man time” and our son gives him all the updates to turn over “Man of the House” back to him. They are buddies. They disappear on bike rides together and can be found climbing trees in our back woods. Who needs a brother, when my son has his Dad. Then, there is our little girl. If he were any more wrapped around her little finger, he wouldn’t be able to function. He tells her stories about princes and castles, and will dance around the house with her. He sips pretend tea from a tiny teacup and has conversations about her American Girl Dolls. He tells her how he’ll build a castle for her, but really it’s a tower for her to live in so the boys can’t get near her.
He comes home after a long day and helps with what he can. Over the years he has changed diapers, given baths, made dinners, and cleaned up countless messes. He’s done “The Silly Dance” in front of our kids when they’ve had to get shots to stop their tears and He’s the one that does the super tuck and checks for monsters at bed time. He is “the fun one” when we go swimming, throwing the kids high into the air and going down the slides racing the kids back to the top. He knows whose blanket is whose, and what their favorite toys are.
He is the example of what a great Dad is.
I hope that the military sees that the men that serve today are different. There needs to be more resources and outlets for Active Duty Dads. It’s only getting harder for them to leave their families, as they become a larger part of them. I’m not saying that my father who served in the 50’s didn’t love his family as much. Dads are just more involved than ever in raising children and it’s a wonderful thing, but it has to be harder to go. Throw in deployments and these Dad’s really are Super Heroes. At least that’s what their kids think.
I hope that Dad’s everywhere have a wonderful day this Sunday! Happy Father’s Day to you all! And most of all, Happy Father’s day to our Service Member “Dads.”
My Daughter’s message to her Dad ~ “You are always here for us, even when you are gone on the submarine. You are the awesomest Dad EVER!”
My Son’s message to his Dad ~ “You are the #1 Dad. I love you.”
To my Husband: I am grateful for all that you do. You are an incredible father and husband and I love you with all my heart. Happy Father’s Day.
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