We're headed out of town this weekend for what I think is the first ever Raymond Reunion. At least it's the first one I can recall. I've been to reunions on every other side of my and my wife's families, but never to one on my father's paternal side. So it should be interesting.
And then, of course, there's Father's Day.
WHAT IS A FATHER?
A father is a person who's forced to endure childbirth without any kind of anesthetic. He growls when he feels good and laughs very loud when he is scared half-to-death.
A father never feels entirely worthy of the love and adoration in his children's eyes. He is never quite the hero his daughter thinks; never quite the man his son believes him to be. And this worries him sometimes, so he works twice as hard to smooth out the rough places his children might need to follow.
A father is a person who goes to war sometimes ... and he would run the other way except that war is an important job to him, and that job is making the world a safer place for his children.
Fathers grow old faster than other people, because they, in other wars, have to stand at the station and wave goodbye to the uniforms that are leaving, knowing what they are going into.
And while mothers cry where it shows, fathers stand and beam a smile ... and they cry and sometimes die on the inside.
Fathers are men who give their daughters away to other men who aren't nearly good enough so they can have grandchildren that are smarter than anybody's.
Fathers fight dragons almost daily. They hurry away from the breakfast table and off to the arena, which is sometimes called an office, or a factory. There they tackle a dragon with three heads, which are named Weariness, Work, and Monotony. They fight with thin weapons called Commitment, Duty, and Faith. And they never quite win the fight, but they never give up.
Knights wear shining armor, fathers wear shiny trousers. And there's really very little difference.
And when Father passes away, he'll take a good rest, but he won't just sit on that cloud and wait for the girl he loves forever ... he'll be busy there, too. He'll be the one repairing the stars, oiling the gates, improving the streets, and trying to smooth the way for others to follow.
[Mikey's Funnies; edits and additional material by Mark Raymond]
WEBSITE of the WEEK: While I was at a Men's Conference recently, I was introduced to Carey Casey, and had the opportunity to hear him speak. He is the CEO of the "National Center for Fathering" at http://www.fathers.com/. Lots of links and resources there to help you and/or the men in your life become a better dad.