Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Hallmarks of a Good Father's Day

Step into the Hallmark Store at this time of the year and you will find the Father's Day cards sandwiched between graduation and all the other special occasion cards.

The cards fall in a variety of emotions, but often feature dad as the handyman, the grill master, the rugged outdoors man, the sports enthusiast.

With our li'l family of 4, we welcomed our Father's Day weekend in the woods. A-camping we did go. True tent camping, for the first time in years. For 4 days & 3 nights we were riverside in the woods of Harper's Ferry, WV.  3/4 of our long weekend, the weather couldn't be more ideal. Even better, we survived the torrential downpour of the first night, staying dry and with a good sense of adventure all hunkered down inside our tent.

Falling right after my teacher meetings ended, this weekend was a symbolic kickoff to summer--not to mention, a great way to decompress. A way to be sure to slow down, appreciate all that surrounded us. A way to breathe a little easier, take time more in stride and on its own time table. A way to gasp in the sunrises and embrace the sunsets over the camp-side Potomac river. We got lost in the flames of the campfire (& a good book or two), got absorbed in the fun of the conversation, while basking in the beauty and green all around.

I got a great dose of Vitamin N.  Nature!

I also got to see the my husband, my kid's dad, in his Hallmark Card element:
• He was the handyman who took the lead in prepping our campground with protective tarps both above and below our tent to keep us dry from the rain we knew was coming.  He patiently showed the kids how to hammer the stakes, creating quite the trio of tent builders.
• He was the grill master at work, baking bacon first thing in the morning to start our day with the tasty yumminess and sustenance that only bacon (or steak) can bring.  Watching him guide my daughter in flipping burgers to perfection made me smile, and thankful that he was tackling all the cooking.
• He was the rugged outdoors man who built our fires, trekked the trails, and 4-wheel-drove us down the rocky hillside to our campsite.  He romped in the river with the kids to splashing about with them.  Their giggles crossed over to where I was sitting, and I found my heart filling with love for my family.
• He was the sports enthusiast who spurred us on to try new and different things, encouraging family fun and bravery while zip-lining and white water rafting. He helped us all step outside of ourselves to try something new, but was also playfully pushing me out of the raft in flat water, but also grabbing hold of my son when he almost flipped out as we hit a wave hard.
In addition to seeing my husband in these "Hallmark" moments, I also had many memories this weekend of my own father, who passed away 5 years ago. We never went camping together when I was a kid, but my family always went on adventures and annual vacations. Some exotic, some rustic, and many of them were ones where the mini grill often came out of the trunk for a hotel side cookouts. There were playful times together including outdoor outings with a bit of hiking and some stream investigations where Dad and I would skip stone after stone. Where love, laughter, good times, and togetherness are all a part of the memories in the making.

These are all the hallmarks of a good father... 
and the hallmarks of making good memories.  

May you make some wonderful memories with your father today and children today, 
or celebrate the memories made in the past 
with your dad in days gone by.  

Happy Father's Day.   

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