Sometimes, words do speak louder than actions.

Last month, my husband was away on his annual business trip.  I know that we’re lucky that he doesn’t travel that often, but when he does, it takes its toll quickly.  On me and the boys.

It was Tuesday evening – the third night into his trip.  It had been a long difficult day up to this point.  I was clearly at the end of my rope with the boys, and them with me.  The “good night” phone call was hastily arranged across two time zones, with an attempt to fit it in between bedtime for the kids and dinner time for Tim.

Howie got on the phone first and I put it on speakerphone.  His ability to communicate on the phone is a relatively new phenomenon, but he was excited to talk to Daddy that night.

They chatted a bit about Howie’s day at school (a tough one) and then the conversation turned to Hot Wheels, or more specifically, my inability to create a decent Hot Wheels track.

“Dad!”, he said with pain in his voice.  “Dad!  When are you coming home?  I just really really miss you!”

My eyes welled up with tears.  There was a brief silence on the other end of the phone.  Across 2000 miles, Tim and I were processing the same thing at the same time.  This was the first unprompted expression of affection for his dad.  Ever.

I’m the one who is usually on the receiving end of what’s perceived as affection : the hugs, the desperate searches through the house when I’m in the shower, the person he demands in the middle of the night.

But his dad is the one who connects with him on the “important” things.  The one who lets him help fix the broken shower pipe and takes him on a tour of the basement to follow the path of the water.  The one who hands him the screwdriver as they replace the burnt out bulb in the brake light of my van.  The one who works with him to create the most elaborate and most awesome of Hot Wheels tracks.

But until this point, he had never been able to verbalize it.

Tim and I talked about it later that night.  We were both still a little shell shocked.

“I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder?” Tim said.

Something like that.

**********

They say that women tend to marry their fathers.  On paper, it would look like the complete opposite for me.  However, I married a man who puts his family first above all else.  A guy who understands what it means to be a dad, whether it’s playing ball in the yard or reading a bedtime story or…crawling around on the floor racing Hot Wheels cars.  That was my dad too.  Exactly.

Happy Father’s Day to my amazing husband and to all the fathers out there who go above and beyond for their kids.

Happy Father’s Day to the fathers-to-be…and the fathers-that-should-be.  You deserve to feel the joy of watching your children grow before your eyes.

And Happy Father’s Day to my dad, who I miss more with every passing day.  Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

“I learned from you that I do not crumble
I learned that strength is somethin’ you choose
All of the reasons to keep on believin’
There’s no question, that’s a lesson, I learned from you

I do not crumble
I learned that strength is somethin’ you choose
All of the reasons to keep on believin’
There’s no question, that’s a lesson, I learned from you

I learned from you.” – I Learned From You by Miley Cyrus

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