Last week, my husband and I took our youngest to her first week-long camp. She, of course, was always the one who had to come along to drop her older brother and sister off at their respective camp experiences. She was always too young, but, of course, always anticipated when it would be her turn.
This year, it was finally her turn. She never looked back and couldn’t wait to get there, get settled in her cabin, and meet some new friends.
However, my husband did not reciprocate the feelings. Don’t get me wrong. He was happy that she was excited for the experience, but our baby was growing up and would be away for a whole week.
Actually, he felt this way for each of our kids when they went off to camp or when they left for any length of time longer than a day.
“It is not the same around here without (insert name of one of our children),” he would say.
When our oldest, our son, goes away, he commiserates because he is our first the first to do everything as our child. He has always been very protective of our middle child, a daughter. She is the middle child and needs to feel special. And then, of course, our youngest. She is our baby, and she always will be. She is 9 years old, and he still refers to her as “the baby.”
“Where’s the baby?” he often says.
Instead of sending our children off with something from home that will remind them of us in case of homesickness, we give Daddy something to have for the week to help with his “missing child sickness.”
Now, I talk big. I, too, always have tears in my eyes when any of my children leave for any length of time; however, consoling my husband is on the forefront.
In fact, each time we take one of our children off to Camp Omega, my husband and I always stop at Fishtale Grill in New Prague for their famous Vomacka soup. We have made this stop several times over the course of the last eight years, as all three of our children have gone to this Bible camp more than once.
Before, while, and after we are trying to enjoy our soup, my husband is lamenting about how he hopes our child is OK. He hopes no one is picking on them, and so forth and so on. I have to remind him that this is Camp Omega, where love and respect are primary, but I think it just makes him feel better to talk. So, we do.
Now, I am cajoling somewhat, but with Fathers Day just past us, I feel so very fortunate that I am sharing my parenting with a man, a father, who loves and cares for our children so immensely, well, as much as I do.
He treats me, his wife and life partner, with deep respect and love, and he tells our children how much he loves me and how lucky they are to have me (now isn’t that nice, and I don’t even bribe or coax him to do this), as the mother and wife of the family.
He treats each of our children with deep respect and love, too. He does not compare them to each other, but treats them as individuals with individual gifts. He talks with them and really listens. He plays with them and spends quantity and quality time. He jokes, sings, and laughs with them.
Our children do, and will know how to treat their respective future life partners when, and if they marry because of their father as a role model.
We are lucky to have him, and this past Fathers Day, I made sure we told him so. This meant a lot to him. He teared up. Again. But, that’s OK.
If you haven’t taken a moment to tell your father, husband/man in your life how much they mean to you, take the time to do so. Everyone needs to know that they are appreciated and loved, even our fathers and husbands.
(By the way, if you haven’t tried Czechoslovakian Vomacka soup, do so. It is a cream-based soup with butter, dill, chicken stock, garlic, potatoes, onions, carrots, bay leaves, and, of course, some type of heavy milk. It is delicious.)