Call Me The F Word

By Anthony Saude

I can remember a time when my father was home, he was drinking but not yet drunk, he was in the driveway working on the car. The car was broken and needed to be fixed, right? What did I know, I was 12 years old and the neighborhood bully was chasing me around the car while he watched. Then my father yelled at me to come over to him and he gave me this profound advice, “stop running from that guy and kick his A**. We never discussed it again, we didn’t discuss much. I can also remember many times when I looked up and he wasn’t in the bleachers, or at the school assembly. I called him dad but when asked I told people he was my father so which one was he? Is there a difference in some letters that could possibly make a difference in the man?

Daddy is an easy word, a child’s first word, at least a reasonable facsimile of the word in many cases. Father is a little tougher to learn and not really used by kids today but is always acceptable. People will always say things like, “anybody can be a dad but it takes a man to be a father”. What does that even mean? I thought I understood what that meant and I was determined to live it out just like that. It made total sense: a “Dad” is made from one simple act but a “father” is the “dad” who is there for sports, school plays, long talks, vacations, weekends and everything in between throughout the child’s life.

I have had the pleasure of being both a dad/father and a step-dad/father and although they each have their own challenges my life was blessed twice as much as the next guy, at least that is the way look at it. I wish I could say that children could make us happy everyday of our parenting lives but what kind of Christian would tell such a bold face lie. Joy that is different though, joy is what our children can bring to our lives but you have got to want it and I mean really want it bad. If you do then our children can be the blessing we give to the world as praise and thanks to God for allowing us to raise one of his as our own.

I love food almost as much as I love eating it with my kids, for me that is where my heart gets filled with their joy. I know that it will be just us uninterrupted (no phones at the table is a valid rule) and we get a lot of world and family problems done while we share that time. Children are a gift that just keeps on giving, you get unconditional love, compassion, smiles, joy and fulfillment. Don’t get it twisted though you will also get a headache, backache, frustration, aggravation and undeniable exhaustion.

Fatherhood is no joke and isn’t for the faint of heart but it is like getting your favorite thing in the world for Christmas every morning of your life if you do your job. If you want it enough to study for the test it will be the most rewarding class in your scholastic career. Oh, it is school guys and what kind of impact you make on that child is your single most important decision you will need to make after you decided to bring a baby into your life. Funny thing is that I didn’t want children at all, not for one second. God had other plans for my life and once again His plans are always better than mine. Lucky for my children my father taught me “no matter what you do make sure to be the best” so I studied and I fought and I prayed and in the end all I really know is that I love them and they love me. It is enough for me and I hope it is enough for them. My only goal when I started this “dad” thing was to do better than my dad did with me and maybe save them some heartache. My prayer for my children is that they know I love them and that they are a better parent then I could have ever been.

You see, when your child is looking up at you and says father/daddy it doesn’t matter which one you want to be all that matters is that you are there when they look up. That was about the only thing I had figured out, I knew that figuring out the rest would take some time, study, tears and a few tons of grace from God but I wouldn’t ever leave those children. Two wouldn’t even know me as Dad but by my first name, Anthony, and that was fine with me because they were my step daughters and their father was still around. So which one does that make me, father or dad? I can only hope if you asked my children that question they would tell you I was able to be whichever one they needed me to be in whatever situation they needed it.

So, call yourself father, dad or JUST ‘Anthony” BECAUSE it REALLY doesn’t matter one bit to that child that is looking up at you remember always that they are also looking up to you. Trust me, what they call you when they are young will be far less important to you than what they think of you when they are grown. They don’t care what your name is, if your clothes are in style or even if you comb your hair. They will remember if you were there when they looked up to if you are there for that game, school play, skinned knee or just when they looked up.

Being a father is nothing you can be ready for but you can sure spend some time getting ready for the job. You have already taken the first step that you needed to take to bring that child into this world. If you are MAN enough to do that then you can be MAN enough to be a DAD or a FATHER. Trust me either will be fine to a child if you do it right. The rewards God will bestow on a man that is a Godly Father/Dad to his children rewards are, I am sure, unimaginable. SO DO ME A FAVOR, WILL YA? CALL ME THE F WORD PLEASE!!!

I love you Jacob, Jessica and Mireya thank you for all the grace you have shown me. Be strong and courageous you will need to be in the world that is waiting for you.