I still have runner’s knee so even on nice nights like last night, when the air is a perfect cool, and the sun is out, I can’t go running. All I can do is watch the runners from my car on the way home from work.

At home I did my stretches in our bedroom. I laid on my back and carefully walked my feet from side to side. I did these as my wife did maternity stretches beside me also. We closed the door to keep the dog out and from licking our faces but when we got up there was dog hair all over our pants and my back.

We lint rolled and then sat down on the couch. Neither of us felt like cooking so we talked about this new car we want to get, thought it was the right time to get it, and made plans to go see the car this weekend.

My dad is helping us pay a lease on a new car with the baby coming. It’s his gift to us. I’m not proud of it (gifts have a way of robbing you of pride) but I’m grateful for his kindness. It’s hard to put into words what I owe my dad. In this world of the much-propagated image of the cruel and tyrannical father, I lucked out big time.

The older I got the more I realized that what I had was a rare thing. My dad was always firm. Growing up my perception of him was that he was too strict and I resented him for it. But then I realized he was trying to protect me, that once you have a child that child is your responsibility and there is an anxiety with bringing a soul into a troubled world, that somehow you have to account for all that you cannot control and sometimes your child feels the burden of that.

Beneath my dad’s exterior, beneath this anxiety, is a heart as big as a mountain. It’s one thing to have a strict and cruel parent. It’s another to have a strict and endlessly loving parent, one who knows how to balance strength with kindness and gentleness.

I will always be chasing after his example. I don’t know if I’ll ever quite replicate my dad, I’m a different person after all, but he’s the type of man one wants to emulate. It’s like Flannery O’Connor said. A good man is hard to find.


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