Looking through Father’s Day cards, I noticed several include a sentiment something to the effect, “Though I don’t say it often enough, I appreciate/admire/love you, Dad.” While this kind of card indicates a lack of communication in the relationship, perhaps this comment best illustrates what Alex feels toward his dad. I know without a doubt that Alex adores Ed, but because of his language and social issues, he cannot easily express either verbally or through affectionate gestures how much he does appreciate, admire, and love his dad. Alex doesn’t initiate hugs or kisses, but will give them if asked, and he only says “I love you” if we say it to him first. Nonetheless, he shows his love in other ways, and for us, that is enough.
In the rare times that Alex has been sick or has had nosebleeds, he has relied upon the calm reassurance of his dad, who gently reminds him that everything will be all right, all the while, holding his head over the commode or a bucket to vomit or holding an ice pack on his nose. (I, on the other hand, clean up any mess left behind and get him fresh clothes or sheets, knowing that he prefers Daddy’s easygoing nature to Mommy’s high energy at those times.) In the middle of the night, when Alex has awakened, Ed has often stayed beside him until he fell asleep, Ed’s very presence soothing him. When I give Alex his twice weekly vitamin B-12 injections, he likes to lean his head on Ed’s shoulder for comfort and never lets out a whimper. He trusts that Daddy will always take care of him.
While many fathers can enjoy watching their sons play sports, Alex’s motor delays denied Ed this pleasure. I’ve wondered whether hearing about his nephews’ successes in playing various sports has ever bothered Ed, but he has never indicated as much. Instead, the two of them have shared interests in politics, the stock market, math, and weather; Alex starts discussing these topics with Ed by asking, “How about nice conversation?” Lately, Alex has shown more interest in sports, watching NASCAR, baseball, and basketball with Ed on t.v., and Ed has patiently tried to teach Alex the basics of baseball and basketball when they go to the park together. Even though Ed has to remind Alex repeatedly to watch the ball, he never gives up on him. Through the years, Ed has learned greater patience and compassion through much testing in many ways. On this Father’s Day, I’m very proud of both of my guys for the men they have become by loving each other.
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4