"...were soft and kind when I was crying.
Daddy's hands were hard as steel when I'd done wrong.
Daddy's hands weren't always gentle but I've come to understand
There was always love in daddy's hands."
It's been so interesting to watch the ways the kids in our neighborhood (especially the young boys) respond to Tim. I don't want to paint an exaggerated picture of the situation -to our knowledge, most of these kids are not from abusive or even horribly neglectful homes. Let's just say that for many of them, the men that are around aren't necessarily their fathers and their fathers aren't necessarily around.
So, it's pretty clear that something different is going on at this house where the same guy shows up everyday at about the same time and hugs his kids, and then hugs and kisses his wife. Tim has become quite the hot commodity. "Can Mr. Tim pump up my bike tires?" "Can Mr. Tim fix my fishing rod?" "Can Mr. Tim play football with us?" These are common. But the moments I love the most are when one of the boys will stand as close as he can get to Tim or offer up a few air jabs in his direction. You can see all over their faces what they really want. And my sweet man does not fail to deliver. He'll grab 'em up in one arm and noogie their little heads. Then off they go to play, smiling.
The Bible says many times that God is the father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). And over and over we are mandated to care for the widow and the orphan (Isaiah 1:17, James 1:27). We recognize God's heart toward the least of these and have tried to follow His lead -thus the four adoptions. BUT I also think our definition of "fatherless" has been broadened by the culture we live in.
Tim and I have toyed around for years with a saying that we think would be great on t-shirts or bumper stickers. Here is the edited version...
"Any old xxxx can make a baby, but it takes balls to be a father."
You can probably see why a pastor and his wife aren't the most likely candidates for mass production of this little diddy. But it holds true. And when I see kids whose dads were little more than sperm donors, I can't apologize for the fact that I don't have gentler, more tactful words for them.
The irony of it all is that, for whatever reason, Tim and I aren't able to conceive a child the old fashioned way AND YET my husband has amazing testicular fortitude (yes, his ears will turn red when he reads this ;-). He is an awesome Daddy. And I pray that these kids will not only see something different in him but that they will crave it enough to break the cycle of past generations when they themselves become daddy's.