Thursday, June 18, 2015

Fathers and Other Great Men

Perfect Dad for Me!
I love you Dad.

 I have been  privileged to be surrounded all my life with the finest of men.  I don't know why that has been so, but I recognize and feel it deeply.  Today, on our only son, Layton's 25 birthday, and a few days before Fathers Day I choose to acknowledge it again.

Yesterday, I called home to my parents to check on details for a memorial service my mothers was putting together for an uncle that had long been lost to our family.  Dad answered and we enjoyed a good hour or so of cheerful, chatty conversation.  My Dad is interesting, funny, witty and a great guy.  I have always enjoyed time with him, and this conversation was almost as good as being with him.  He and Mom are a wonderful team, the kind I hope Jeff and I are becoming, and the kind I hope for and see in our children and their spouses.  They minimize one another's weaknesses and build up their strengths and together make up a whole that is a powerful blessing to the individual needs of all who cross their path. 

Our family and extended family has often seemed so un-notable to me… nothing famous or particularly outstanding… just good ordinary people.  However, as I listened to Mom and Dad remind me of the miracles that have occurred in the finding of a number of "lost" extended family, I realized our parents ARE more than notable!  Oddly in our otherwise uneventful family, there have been a number of family members, particularly in Mom's family, who have at times, become, "lost" to the others, sometimes for long years.   Mom and Dad's cooperative efforts over many years have "found" most of them in ways not explained to those who don't believe in Divine intervention.  They both support and seek the spirit, and in a church who preaches of family relationships extending beyond this life, it seems natural then, that our parents would also live so fully, the principles of concern and connectedness in THIS life.  We all feel it, and we all are better for it.  I have learned much, watching how, unlike some spouses who could complain or criticize their in-law relations, my parents never have.  They work together to make their home, life and choices inclusive of all, to repair breaches or hurts, and strengthen ties that have become loose or cut.  Dad has been an involved partner and participant in the constant charitable outreach all of us know our parents to live.  And all they consider it is, LOVE.

A few weeks ago, I substituted in seminary and the topic was an historical event that occurred in the church the summer I was 12.  I wondered if I would have written anything about in my journal.  Sure enough I did, and as I perused the other entries near it, I was reminded again how valuable my dad was in that tender time in my life.  He was a young and harried father with a large family to provide for.  And yet, he noticed me,  trusted me and took me as his "secretary" on trips to Boise to work with him.  I loved those outings and recorded them in detail; trips to the Capital, our lunches and how much they cost, the sights we saw and even our conversations.  I wrote about how dad always chose me to work with him on the "hard" family chores, like cleaning the garage or cutting firewood.  But I didn't mind (too much) because I knew Dad valued ME, more than just my help.
My parents and the way my family looked one year before I married.  Busy parents!
And how grateful I am  now, for every single sibling!

  What a gift to society, a devoted and loving Father is!  It doesn't take a perfect one.  Just one who knows the VALUE of HIS role, and the value of his wife and children.  Dad how I love you.  I love you so much I am always trying to find time to spend it with you and Mom.  And I never regret it!  I loved our private camping trip years ago during the week I waited for the kids at AFY (Adventures For Youth), and my recent visit when Mom and I went early to ride the bus on your bus route in the morning.  No wonder all your patrons love it when you're the bus driver!  I do too!  I've always been proud of my Dad. You taught me among many other needful and vital skills, what to look for in a husband. 

Jeffery Bird, has been the man of my dreams. He too is witty, and funny, silly and sweet.  He is kind and patient, and has almost no temper at all. He is the sweetest father to little ones ever, and my photo albums and memory are filled with photos to prove it.  I believe there are very few things more attractive to women than a man who is good and kind to children.  It is the MOST manly of things!  And even now… how he worries about his children and grand children! You have only the tiniest idea how much!  Each are constantly in his prayers and conversation.

And he is VERY smart!  I never go a week, often even a day, when someone does not comment to me how much Jeff has influenced their life.  What a great thing to know about ones spouse, that he is a blessing to others.  I also appreciate all the things he takes care of in our home and life.  He is a capable and talented DO-er, and he does things well if he's going to do them.
Jeff and Me and our little 
Father and Son
Fun Daddy!
 He takes me on road trips, and enjoys the local cafes and tolerates the history and scenic stops I love, so patiently.  And he is forgiving.  One cannot minimize or underestimate the value of that quality in a marriage.  Oh how kind he has been with me and my too often pettishness. Jeffery, our children and I are so very fortunate to have you as Husband and Father!
Bird's multiplied! (Conrads, Lees, Robinson's, Bird, Bird, and Udall)

Just as my Dad showed me what to watch for in a man, Jeff did for his children. All four daughters have connected themselves to the finest of men.  They are disciplined, hard working, smart, kind, and faith filled.  We admire and love them all!

And for our son, Layton, born in the middle of 4 sisters, just before Fathers Day just like today, Jeffery was a role model. Layton was the cutest, funnest son and brother.  He was literally "in the middle" of every event with his sisters.

 Layton is fast becoming just like his Dad. We both think  he's soon ready to pass Jeff up in ability and knowledge!

 He is brilliant and capable and now, as his first tiny little daughter Emma, struggles, and grows and develops in the NICU in Idaho Falls, he too is a most devoted and involved husband and Father, just as his Dad has been.

He was  so concerned about his work that was conflicting in his desire to be all the support,  emotionally and physically he wanted to be for his wonderful wife Meredith, and to be there to help with and connect with a tiny baby girl, they cannot bring home for months.  And it was worked out.  They have not missed a day yet in 6 weeks, and likely have many more to go, but they leave one feeling there is truly nothing else or no where they'd rather be.  Wouldn't every child like to know that is how their parents feel?  Wouldn't the world be better if it were so?

To Jeff's father, and brothers and brothers in law, and to my brothers and brothers in law. You too, are part of my fabric of gratitude for the tremendous value and influence of devoted, sacrificing Fathers.  You have been mentors to us, as we have watched from a distance and tried to add into our lives, (sometimes belatedly), your best attributes.

And now, with our 4 Sons-in-law, the cycle continues. We see and expect the same great contribution to the world that we have seen thus far.  You matter!  You are loved and you DEFINITELY make the world better!  I hate to disagree with the world, (maybe I don't HATE it  at all!), but diamonds and dogs are NOT women's and mens best friends, it should be and can be and for me, has been,   a wonderful FATHER, husband, son, and brother, who are the very BEST, the most loyal and devoted and meaningful, and valuable of friends!  Thank you!

Happy Fathers Day ALL,   I love every one of you!  And feel gratitude for all like you.


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