"Daddy, cuddle me."

I am in the middle of my morning routine.  I just finished up some quiet time and am now getting smoothies ready to blend and muffins on the table.  I place berries and yogurt in the blender and wait.  My three year old, Luke, likes to be in Kevin's arms before I turn the blender on, because, well, the blender is really old school and really loud.  I hear Kevin open Luke's door and come down the hall with him, sleep still in his eyes and the shirt he sleeps with wrapped tightly around his arm.  I give him three kisses on the cheek and they head to the couch to snuggle up and wake up.  

I love watching them like this.  Luke loves his Daddy, he always has, since the day he met him in the hospital.  At first, I was a little bit jealous of the connection that was so easy and strong and real with the two of them.  Praise Jesus I was staying home with Luke and nursing him because that was time Luke literally had no choice but to let me love on him.  When Kevin was home then and is home now, Luke is all about his Daddy.  

I watch the two of them from the kitchen and my lips and heart smile so big. That jealousy that was around back when Luke was just a newbie has completely vanished and is now replaced with admiration and thankfulness.  I ask Luke if he's ready for the blender and he nods a yes.  He is safe in his Daddy's arms. I start it up, wake up Lily who is still in her bedroom, and pour four glasses of mixed berry smoothies Three Little Bears style...a big glass for Papa Bear, a medium glass for Mama Bear, and two little glasses for our baby bears.  Kevin asks Luke if he wants to get up and eat some breakfast and he shakes his head no and says 'Daddy, cuddle me'.

Being the incredible Daddy that Kevin is, he stays a while longer, pulls Luke close, and enjoys the last few minutes of quiet time with his boy before he starts his day.  Eventually it is time for Kevin to get going to work, so Luke gets placed at the kitchen counter while Kevin finishes up getting ready for his day.  

Their bond doesn't end here, Luke is always giddy when he hears the garage open and knows his Daddy is home from work.  He always has big plans for them at night; lots of adventures, tractor rides, maybe some time on the swing set.  He loves calling Daddy during the day or Face-timing when he is traveling.  His love and admiration for his Daddy is big and wide...just as it should be.

Our sweet Lily Jo is more of a Mommy's girl, but her and Kevin are starting in on something that is sure to be an irreplaceable relationship.  If there is music on, Lily runs into her Daddy's arms and wants to dance the day away with him.  She loves when he chases her and always wants to climb on top of him if he is lying down.  She gives him kisses through our baby gate and railing when he leaves for work in the morning and loves to wave at him through the window. This girl has a special place in her heart for her Daddy.

In our broken world, dads are being pulled in many different directions.  There are higher expectations in the workplace, a greater demand for living the 'American dream', and more and more temptations outside the family unit.  Being a good, faithful, loving, selfless husband and dad is hard. 

When I think of how the world tempts the men in our lives, it makes me speechless with gratitude for my husband and his faithfulness and relentless love.  I am blessed with a man who loves me and our children well.  He leads us with unwavering faith and love and compassion.  He is our rock and there isn't a day that goes by that I am not thanking God for him.

I know there are so many dads and husbands out there that are like my Kevin. My own dad and father-in-law are two as well as Kevin's Grandpa Junior and Grandpa Gerald, and my Grandpa Hasley and Great-Grandpa Johnson that have gone to be with Jesus.  These men have loved well and have raised families in a courageous way.  They know what's important and have strived to 'stay the course' and leave legacies for the generations that come after them.

My prayer today is that all dads feel loved, appreciated, and capable to fulfill their vital roles as husband and Daddy.  These are the most important positions Dads will ever hold and will leave lasting impressions on the people that look up to them the most.  

Happy Father's Day to my own Daddy and to my incredible husband!  I love you both more than words can say!

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