Choose wisely

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Mr. Wonderful, Boy Wonder and Girl Wonder

“Dads can play like a kid, give advice like a friend and protect like a bodyguard.” 

— Unknown 

As Father’s Day approaches, I really think I should be the one getting presents from the kids. After all, it was my wisdom in choosing a partner that garnered them such a fun dad — you’re welcome kids!

With a fortuitous meet cute, cleverness and the undoubted guidance of the good Lord himself, I was blessed to have the opportunity to raise a family with an unflappably calm man with the patience of a saint. A hard worker. A man with a commitment to his family like no other. A man with a sense of humor that has been a delight of our days.

Making memories

He is the official fixer of all things from home repairs to splinters in toes. He drove nails and drove a minivan to soccer tournaments. He paced the floor with crying infants and paced the sidelines with teenage athletes.  He is the father who took us camping — and brought everyone back!

He is the father who worked long hours and swing shifts and crazy days and on-call nights. Still, he found time to bury “gold” behind the barn so the children could dig it up. They still recall the thrill.

Our daughter still giggles to remember how daddy pantomimed her “knocking his socks off!” when she snuck up to scare him one afternoon. His socks flew across the living room, and a lasting memory was made.

He cracked a coconut on our kitchen counter and broke it — alas the counter, not the coconut. He attempted to mimic swordplay cutting a pizza on an expensive baking stone — and broke that too. The kids still laugh uproariously. Countertops and baking stones can be replaced but the memories are forever. I laugh remembering how quickly they ratted daddy out when I discovered the damage, a couple of stool pigeons those two.

He is the father who built swing sets as well as character in his children. He trusted them with tools, blessed them with toys and taught them to look people in the eye and always tell the truth.

Not content to provide a comfortable life for us working hard for others, he decided to start his own business. In doing so, he has shown us the value of hard work, late nights, sales skills and attention to detail. He has also shown us that two of us are natural-born salespersons and two of us are not.

Family goals

The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams and aspirations he sets not only for himself but for his family. When GirlWonder visibly swooned learning her Handsome Boyfriend™ could back up a trailer — I knew her daddy had set the bar high.

All this girl will need to be happy is someone who dotes on her and thinks she is beautiful and smart while also being able to fix all the things, trailer a boat, be a hard worker, always be up for a good time and offer up a dad joke or two. In this, a daughter needs a dad to be the standard against which she will judge all men. I trust she has an excellent template.

A son learns how to be a father by watching his own. BoyWonder has been a caretaker since he was old enough to walk. I recently found photos taken the day we brought his sister home as a newborn. At just 22 months old, he already hovered protectively over “our baby.” He continues that practice to this very day.

Our son learned to hunt, repair cars and frame up a deck and became an Eagle Scout under the watchful eye of his doting dad. He learned to be a man of his word from his father.

As Father’s Day approaches, we take a moment to applaud the fathers among us. Whether they came to it by choice or chance, the best are gems among men.

There is a common saying that you cannot choose your family. The truth is that in some ways you certainly can. In fact, I’m speaking to all the childless young folks out there who hope to have a family someday. My advice: choose the person you will parent with like your future child’s emotional and physical health depends on it — because it does.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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