: a nonflammable platform from which a rocket, launch vehicle, guided missile, or girl can be launched
It's difficult to write the perfect blog post for every occasion, but as I was thinking about Father's Day and how to encapsulate what J is for our girls, the image of a launchpad came to me. I recently read Lift and if motherhood is about breathing life into your children's hopes, dreams and talents, then fatherhood is about giving your children - especially your daughters - the firm and stable ground from which to launch themselves.
J is just this stability for our girls. They know who he is, what to expect from him and that he will be there for them no matter what. Girls can't jump as high, soar as far or fly as long when they don't have a launchpad for a father. Any basketball player will tell you that you can't get as much height when jumping in sand as you can when you're on the court. Girls know when their fathers are dependable like a launchpad and they know when they're like shifting sand under them.
They also know that some fathers allow them to land gracefully, crash and burn or take the long way back home. This knowledge gives them the confidence to pursue their dreams, knowing they'll never be alone in their successes or failures.
I was talking with a friend not long ago whose husband enjoys a more flexible schedule than J does. (On weekdays, J is consistently gone between 11 1/2 to 12 hours.) She asked how I manage it with grace. I admitted that I don't always handle it gracefully, but that it's easier now that the girls are older. There's the added factor that J loves his job. More importantly, when he's here, he's fully present. He eats dinner with us every night. He helps put the girls to bed. He attends every game, every recital, every school. He knows what's going on in our girls lives and knows who they are as people.
This is a dad who willingly watches our daughters' favorite TV show, which happens to be So You Think You Can Dance. He doesn't just watch it, either. He watches with us, critiques choreography and execution, has his favorites and his not-so-favorites. Is he a closet dance fan? Not really. But he's a fan of our daughters. And they love watching this show. A loves the dances, B loves the music, K loves the performances. So we do this as a family - we watch, we vote, we laugh together, gasp together, recall our favorite routines from past seasons together. And if J is sometimes wishing he was watching a baseball game instead of a dance show, he never lets on. This television show is more than a way to kill a few hours on summer evenings. It's a launchpad for family memories. It's a shared experience that helps strengthen the community that is our family.
I have no aspirations for my daughters to be astronauts - A hates math far too much for that, B could never follow all of the rules required and K will probably never be tall enough - but I do look forward to seeing the confident, bold, strong women they will be because they have a father who served as a launchpad for them.