Dads, never be afraid to hug your son, especially the strong, macho ones. There is something about the strength of a father that cannot be replicated. As he grows into manhood, you are the one person that recognizes the struggles that lie ahead. You have faced them and so must he, but knowing that you are the strength and acceptance behind him every step of the way makes it a bit easier.
Adult sons love their mom! They call them regularly, accept their public displays of affection as a matter of course, and share the day-to-day events on a more regular basis. Yet there are times when the calls come in and they are definitely not for me.
“Mom, can I talk to Dad?” immediately rings in my ear and I listen to the low murmur of my husband’s voice in the other room. Those times are priceless! A moment in time when no one else can settle the concerns, encourage him over obstacles, or simply assure him that he is not alone… no one but Dad.
These conversations didn’t happen overnight. They are made up of years of my husband lowering his defenses and working to communicate when neither of them wanted to talk about situations. It was the result of calling them through out the day, texting jokes and pictures, and sharing their lives as they were growing up, especially the high school years.
My sons didn’t see a father that never experienced trouble, instead he taught them through life’s challenges. He used his own life as lessons. He showed them how to humble themselves and reach out for help from God and his wife. Most importantly, he taught them how he drew strength from his family rather than pushing them away during stressful days.
Hugging our youngest, when he was an Army ROTC college student didn’t come quite as easy. He was growing and finding his balance between adult responsibilities in the military and his desire to still lean on his father. Never deterred Paul would walk by him when he was home and put a hand on his shoulder, telling our son that he loved him. My son would answer, “Love you too, Dad,” just as easily. These moments have been a harbor in the storm for the years that have followed and for those ahead. When distance is greater and conversations a little less often, I trust that my son will be able to lean on that strength of relationship with his Dad, knowing that if he needs the truth, encouragement or a little balancing it is simply a phone call away.
I know the days will come years and years from now when my sons will miss Dad’s strength and “Hey Mr. B!” or “Hey Mr. A!” on the other end of the line, but the only reason they can miss it is because it is their regular way of life now and for years to come.
Never give up the chance to love on your son. You are his hero, his example and his validation during the tough times. And one day you will experience an even greater joy than your adult son’s voice on other end of your call.
It will be the moment when you realize that he is now the Dad on the other end of your grandson’s call.