Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Happy Un-Father's Day!

Tony at Catholic Pillow Fight posted this in rebuttal to a columnist's blog entry. It's about the importance of fathers. Ann Althouse (The aforementioned rebutted blogger) asks this in her comments:

For the kids we're talking about, the alternative is nonexistence. Are you saying that 38-year-old women who can't find suitable matches should not have children? Or that they should make dads out of unsuitable men? Talk about the real world, not just your ideal.

Tony says, and I wholeheartedly agree, that yes, nonexistence is better than an existence where your mother deliberately chose not to give you a father.

I think of my own family: Me, DH, boys, and my mom. My mom is of enromous help in my family. Without her, we would live in chaos. She cooks, cleans, does laundry, homework with my older son, everything a mother ought to be doing (for my guilt associated with this, you'll have to wait for another post). My husband works crazy hours during the school year. He is frequently on the way to work when we are waking up and he comes home after dinner. He wishes it were not so, and if the Lord is willing, he will have a new job soon.

From the previous paragraph, it might sound like my husband is dispensible in the family equation. He's not home for dinner most nights and he gets to see the kids for about 8 hours in a whole week. Surely, my and my mother's impact on their lives must be greater than his. Isn't he really interchangable with a cool uncle or a grandfather?


He is irreplacable. He is the anchor for our family. He is the head of our household. He is the pope in our domestic church. He is the man who was ordained by God to teach our boys to be men. It is a responsibility he takes very seriously. He may not be able to be home for dinner every night, but he is the MAN of the house.

I think a woman who chooses to embark on parenthood alone because she wants to be fulfilled is insane. She ought to look for fulfillment elsewhere. I cannot imagine doing this without my man. And not in a "I need a bugkiller and mousecatcher in the house" way. And not in a "Wait until your father gets home" way either (though I have said it and it is extraodrinarily effective with the elder boy). I can kill bugs and set mouse traps. I can discipline my sons. But I cannot model manhood for them. And if the Lord blesses me with a daughter, I cannot model for her the way a man ought to treat his wife. I cannot be a mom without a dad to balance me.

Gloria Steinem said that a child needs a father like a fish needs a bicycle. I think I read somewhere that as she mellowed with age, she retracted that statement somewhat. I could be wrong. But I DO know that a child needs a father like a fish needs water; like that child needs air, food, and love.

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