The two most important men in my life are my father, Gary, and my husband, the Carpenter. These two men have a lot in common, despite being from different generations.

The most important trait they share though is the one that has had the most profound impact on my life: they are both good fathers.

These two men share a love of golf, making the pilgrimage to Augusta, Georgia together to stand on the holy ground of The Masters. They both enjoy a healthy rivalry in NFL football teams, making family dinners lively. If you go to the racetrack with them, they won’t speak until the race is done, because the program holds all their secrets until the race is won.

We know to leave them alone while they read the newspaper. They want to be informed about everything. And while neither of them can remember what they had for dinner on Monday, both can recall every detail of sports plays, final scores and who got traded where like it was yesterday.

Gary and the Carpenter always finish crossword puzzles but neither will ever complete a home renovation. They take “some assembly required” as a personal challenge. They are never wrong, the directions are, but not to worry, they can fix it. Look away.

To their credit, these two men are easy to make happy: cashews, Licorice Allsorts and Fruit’n Nut chocolate bars are valued gifts for any occasion. It’s tradition. I would not share their enthusiasm if I got the same gift all the time, but these two goofs seem to love it. Genuinely. Must be a dad thing.

As fathers, Gary and the Carpenter lead by example. They are kind and generous, teaching compassion with action. I have seen them both do incredible things for someone in need, from strangers to neighbours, and most especially, friends. Their character is genuine. If they say they’ll do it, they do it (except finishing a reno). Resiliency was learned the hard way and they’re better for it. They’ve earned what they have by their own hands and they don’t owe anyone a thing. And if there is an apology to be made, they’ll make it. Responsibilities are choices they’ve made and they honour them. Yet, somehow they remain independent souls, especially in their careers. I see that their hard work ethics equaled their sense of self-worth, but it was also to create security for their family. Nothing matters more.

My father taught me about relationships by how he respected my mother. I wish more men raising daughters really understood the power of this statement. He showed me that love isn’t what you say, but what you do every day. I was fortunate to grow up in a home where love was expressed and violence was not. I knew what a healthy relationship looked like. When I met the Carpenter, I recognized this goodness in him. My dad did too.

My children are my heart and it’s incredible to share them with my best friend, who is every bit as weird and wonderful as any father should be. Our daughter will have the best example of equality in a relationship. Our son will know that being a man isn’t about muscle and grit, but integrity and heart.

Happy Father’s Day, you two goofs – and all you other dads too.

WriteOut of Her Mind