Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dad's Day

One of the best surprises about getting married is when the person to whom you're married turns out to be a great dad.

And I'm not just saying that due to his ability to produce kids who look exactly like him.

It's one thing to think and even believe the person you're marrying will be a great dad, but until there's a little person involved and you see him hold a colicky baby all night long and then go to work the next day, exhausted, but never complaining, you don't know for sure.

But I do now.

There's also his desire to wear a Santa hat every single Christmas day. {No idea where that hat came from or why he's worn it for 11 years straight, or for that matter, where he stores it the rest of the year, but the kids like it.}

I'm so thankful Brad is great....not just because he jumps on the trampoline with a full stomach right after dinner or educates the kids on classic rock bands or has never been the first one to say he's done playing catch.

Mostly because he loves God with all his heart and pours that love into Jackson and Lilly's lives every single day.

Through his prayers, through his time, through his words.

When Brad was ten years old, his dad was killed by a co-worker. This month, 22 years later, the woman who murdered his dad, (and also shot another man, leaving him a quadriplegic) requested a clemency hearing.

The court asked Brad, his brother, mom, and uncle to write letters expressing why they believe this woman should not be set free.

With Brad's permission, I'm posting a little excerpt of his letter. No matter how many times I hear how great of a man, dad, and husband Dale Rowell was, it still makes me pause.

And then I remember why I'm actually never surprised that Brad is an amazing father.

Read on:

"My name is Brad Rowell and I am Dale Rowell’s youngest son. I was ten years old when my dad was murdered by (name.) My dad was a wonderful father and I have such great memories of him and our life together. Dad coached my baseball and soccer teams and made a point to play with me on weeknights when he got home from work. He also was committed to family dinners around the kitchen table and after dinner we would read the Bible and pray together. I loved camping with Dad at the Indiana Sand Dunes and our long road trips to both the east and west coasts. I remember helping dad with projects around the house and at church – he had such a servant heart. I remember sledding and ice skating in the winter and riding bikes in the summer. He was a wonderful father and I will always have these great memories.

But there are, and will continue to be, experiences that my Dad missed because of (her) heinous crime. My dad was robbed of so many things: Little things like simply seeing how I look. I’m much different at age 32 than I was at age 10. Major things like never seeing me get married or holding my two children in his arms.

And all the things in between: never seeing me as the captain of my high school soccer team, never seeing me graduate from college, never talking with me about my first job, never talking with me about owning my home and doing projects like he used to, never seeing me be involved in my own church the way he was, and on and on and on. I continue to think of my dad often I still miss him terribly."

What strikes me is the huge impact Brad's father had in ten short years. He chose to live each day like most people dream of--never wasting an opportunity to invest in his boys.

And I'm thankful that I get glimpses of Dale each day through Brad's kindness, patience, and fun-loving spirit.


Eric and Amy said...

Nicole, I love this post! Uncle Dale was a wonderful dad (& uncle). I agree that it's no surprise that Brad's a great dad. He had a super example! Thanks for sharing the exerpt from Brad's letter. Love, Amy