Dave and his boys

I’m always amazed at how strong the love can be between parent and kids. I know that personally, I have been completely transformed by the act of parenthood, and the strong love and devotion I have for my kids. And, it is not just my biological children, Ben, Ellie, and Max.  I also feel love and caring for Paiton, my “gifted” son.

It’s not just me, of course. Even though I feel I am an above average father, I am not at all exceptional. In fact, I don’t have to look far to see examples of fathers that make me look a little more average. Take my brother Dave:

Dave has two boys, now men. They have always been great kids and have now developed into fine young men. However, what is exceptional are the circumstances surrounding Dave’s role. When his wife, Ellen, was near term with their second child, Del, she had a massive stroke. It is not clear (to me at least) what caused this, but it was likely a genetic malformation in her brain that was just waiting for the right trigger to cause a rupture. In any case, Dave had to not only deal with the stress of a new child’s birth, but also with his wife being in a medically induced coma — at the time of the birth. It is hard even to imagine.

After Del was born, and Ellen started to recover, she was never the same person. She was deeply affected by the stroke. Her physical facilities were impacted, and for a while she was not able to walk.  But even more difficult, was that she was a shell of herself emotionally. It was like Dave now had 3 kids to take care of, and without the benefit of a partner.

One of the most striking examples of Dave’s love, for his kids and his wife, was his insistence on maintaining his role as father and husband.  It must have been so hard, with all this going on, to maintain his strength, conviction, and passion. But Dave, as far as I could see, never wavered, and never considered giving up his most precious loves. That is truly remarkable love!

This all happened, obviously, quite early in the two boys’ lives. They were raised with a mom who struggled as a mother. But, Dave’s love and caring were steadfast and dominant. There was never a time in their lives where they could doubt the strength of his devotion to them, and to their mom. While Ellen did her best to care for the two kids, she was never capable of real responsibility for their well-being. It fell on Dave to be the anchor for his family — alone and consistent.

Several years later, Ellen died in a skiing accident. (It speaks so highly of Dave’s caring — and Ellen’s inner strength — that he constantly supported and challenged his wife to continue to be the best she could be, in spite of her situation.) The boys were now teenagers. But, once again, Dave was the one to hold strong, and take care of his boys’ hearts. Despite all he had been through, all the effort and caring, he never lost sight of his responsibility, his role as Father. He was STRONG, as he has always been, when those he loves needs his strength!

I am blessed to have my brother in my life! He has been an example, in so many ways, especially as a role model for my own parenting.