June 20, 1999 My first Father's Day

Monday, June 21, 1999 - 12:07:12 AM

Today the United States celebrated a holiday that honors fathers. We call it, unsurprisingly, Father's Day. Today was the first one during which I was wished a happy Father's Day. I had wished many a happy Father's Day in the past. I have even enjoyed several very much, but I have never experienced such a special Father's Day as the one I had today.

My son Isaiah will be 3 months old the day after tomorrow and he is very cute little fellow, I must say. "Ah," you say, "all fathers think their son is the cutest little fellow." This is true and I would never deny my bias, but when my wife takes Isaiah to the hardware store while I'm at work and strangers, men- in a hardware store, come up to tell her how cute he is, I think I am well justified in my conclusions. He is my pride and joy. I have a picture of him above my computer monitor at work. When things really get to be a drag, I look up at him and remember what I am doing and why. Sometimes this banishes my boredom and I go back at it with renewed vigor. Others, I look back at my monitor and, still bored stiff, go back at it because I have a full-fledged family to support and I won't let them down.

So today was my first Father's day and the plan was that after church, we all (my wife; son; Mom; mother, father, and brother-in-law; mother-in-law's sister; and mother-in-law's sister's best friend Wilma who is Isaiah's "official extra grandmother") would meet at The Outback Steakhouse for lunch. This place is normally not opened for lunch and we were prepared to have to wait over an hour, but my Mom, who drove her own vehicle in case she had to leave to help a very sick friend, had arrived a few minutes before us and as Ruth and I brought the Boy through the door our non-smoking table for eight was ready. Ruth's folks and brother arrived soon, and as was expected, we all had a grand time.

As is always the case, Isaiah was the star of the day. He is such a happy baby and so much fun to be around. Granny Denby, Ruth's mother, fed him a bottle while Ruth ate her salad. We lucked out pretty well, too. My Mom paid for my lunch and Ruth's folks paid for hers. I really didn't expect that, but when someone offers to do something like that for me, my policy is to make some comment like "Oh, no, you don't need to do that!" once and if they persist, I let them have their way.

We got home about two-thirty in the afternoon which was far earlier than I had anticipated and I was thinking nap-ish thoughts when Ruth reminded me about a sale on diapers at K-mart and asked if I could take care of the Boy while she went to get some. When she asked this, I had already changed out of my good clothes and was checking my email in boxer shorts. I told her that as soon as I got dressed we'd all go together. So I got dressed and we went. I'm not crazy about wandering around stores- especially on Sunday afternoons, but Ruth and I have the special kind of marriage in which, if I'm not at work, we are together. Sometimes she might got to a kitchen gadget party or something and leave me at home, or she may go shopping with a friend while I hang out with that friend's husband, but in our almost two years of marriage, the number of times such a thing has happened could be counted on my fingers. When we left she thanked me for going with her, but I told her that although spending time in stores isn't my favorite thing to do, spending time with her is. (Yeah, I know... But if you're going to read these pages very often, you'll have to build up your sap-tolerance).

That evening we were going to go to church with her folks which is usually not what we do. She wanted to go to be with her father and to show off Isaiah. So we went to their house from K-mart. We sat around and relaxed for about forty-five minutes. I had tried to call my father who lives in Arizona several times earlier and tried again, but couldn't get through. Ruth and I were both wearing t-shirts, so we borrowed a couple of polo shirts from her brother Mark's closet (he had to go to work) and followed her parents to church.

We don't often go with Ruth's parents. They attend a denominational church that promotes certain doctrines with which I do not fully concur. Besides, I have attended the same congregation from youth and Ruth's family moved back to the area after decades away only a few years ago. When Ruth and I were married she graciously conceded to let our home congregation be the one I had grown up in. We occasionally visit and it is always nice to see the people there who know us. Isaiah started fussing just a little soon after the sermon began and Ruth took him out into the foyer so I got a nice nap.

After church, I was ready to go home, but her folks wanted us to go out to dinner with them. They're some of the eatin'est folks I've ever known! Part of that is due to Bob, her father's, diabetes, though, so I don't make comments like that to them. We had hamburgers at Steak n' Shake. I got to sit by Isaiah. This was a rare treat since Ruth usually sits by him. He and I had a very good time playing peek-a-boo with the blanket I had laid over him to keep him warm in the refrigerated restaurant. I would toss the blanket over him and he would squeal and squirm until his smiling face popped out from under the cover. Times like that fill me with a bittersweet heartache. He is such a delight. Sometimes I want him to stay a baby forever and it breaks my heart when Ruth says "He is growing like a little weed!" I know though, that life doesn't work that way. I can just do my best to remember these special, wonderful times and know that my joy will be compounded as Isaiah grows up to be a man that will make his father proud to have been allowed to know him.

(but then, I already am)
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