Now that he is a daddy.
Who knew it would melt my heart to see another girl in his arms? (Joe and Mary Ashley, right corner.)
1. On school mornings, he will often catch the alarm clock before I wake up and quietly get the boys up and off to school so I can rest.
2. He takes the children to school nearly every day and says he feels so proud to hold Mary Ashley's hand as he walks her to her class.
3. He is our protector. When Carson was about 3, he would ask, "Daddy, could you handle a dinosaur?" Joe would say yes, and without missing a beat, would go into a detailed explanation of how he would defeat this dangerous foe. I was amazed that he seemed to already have a plan of attack laid out for every creature and character Carson could think of!
4. He loves coaching the children's athletic teams.
5. He works hard to provide for our family.
6. Spending time with our family figures prominently into his career decisions.
7. He is a great spiritual leader and makes learning the Bible fun.
8. He rough houses with the children. Although sometimes I get fed up with the noise and chaos that ensue when all the children dog pile on Joe, deep down I know that somehow this kind of play is beneficial. The children enjoy bonding with their dad this way, and as he sweeps them into the air, their respect for his strength and authority grows.
9. I appreciate that when Carson, Christian and Emma shriek with laughter as they wrestle with Dad, he will incorporate daintier Mary Ashley into the game by letting her be the princess whose kiss will put the monster to sleep and save her siblings.
10. He did ballet. Joe was not thrilled initially when he learned that Mary Ashley's ballet class would be doing a daddy-daughter dance in the spring recital, but he knew it would mean the world to her and agreed to do it. He said the experience was worth it when the daddies lifted their daughters for the first time at practice, and a chorus of giggling 4-year-olds sang out "Wheee!"
11. Joe is a good disciplinarian. The boys, especially, need his strong influence to keep them on the right path.
12. His Number One rule with the children has always been that they must show me respect in their words, actions and attitudes. And he leads by example.
13. He takes the kids on special outings. I don't like Chuck E. Cheese's. The lights, music and crowds equal too much stimulation for me! And I don't like feeling like I've lost the children when they are roaming the tunnels or playing video games and I can't see them. But Joe takes this all in stride, and he enjoys this special daddy time with them.
14. He can always make the children laugh, even when they are sad, frightened or angry.
15. He appreciates the work I've done around the house during the day and doesn't complain about the mountain of chores that were not accomplished.
16. He understands that I need a break from my responsibilities at home, and encourages me to spend time with my girlfriends.
17. He tucks hair bows into his coat pocket so they won't get lost when Emma pulls them out of her hair at church.
18. Although he still thinks it is ridiculous to buy expensive clothing for the children, Joe has tried to indulge my passion for dressing the girls (within reason). And he can use terms of art like "smocked" in a sentence.
19. He is willing to humble himself to apologize to the children if he wrongs them.
20. He changes diapers.
21. He calls every day before he leaves work to see if there is anything he needs to pick up before he comes home. (In fact, he just called as I am typing this at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, and will be picking up milk so we will have it in the morning.)
22. He tells me that I am a great mommy.
23. He sets a high standard for our girls in looking for a husband, and a lofty goal for our boys to aspire to.
24. Through four pregnancies and childbirths; days so busy caring for little ones that I sometimes don't get a shower; frustrations with baby weight I just can't seem to lose; and the toll that age, fatigue and worry can have on a mother's face, he takes me in his arms, looks deeply into my eyes, and tells me, "You are so beautiful."
25. He makes me believe it. And I fall more in love with him every day.
"You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing" (1 Peter 3:7-9 NASB).
Photo by Gigi Hankins