Sunday, June 21, 2015

For The Bestest Daddy

 Looking back on pictures of when we first brought Jayci home from the hospital, it mostly feels like we were just babies ourselves. How could we have known what we were doing? The truth is, in many (or most) ways we didn't. Luckily, you were a natural from the very first minute. Dubbed the "baby whisperer" and "swaddle master," you took to fatherhood from the very start. Watching the way you love Jayci, and the ways you have grown into your role as father in big and small steps every day, has only grown my respect and admiration and love for you. You have taught and continue to teach Jayci the ways she deserves to be cherished by a man, and how she needs to be delighted in and loved deeply and with gentleness. And you also teach her it's ok to make mistakes, to take risks, to be silly, and not to take herself so seriously. You are absolutely the best dad for Jayci, and it's amazing to see the ways you were made perfectly to be her father.
 When we went from one child to two, parenthood was a whole new ball-game. Throw in Caden's unexpected heart defect and those first few days and weeks after his birth were a make-or-break moment for us in our marriage, and for our family. Luckily, you have never been anything less than a rock. A super-dad who handles everything thrown at you with grace and skill (it's borderline maddening how good you are everything really). Those days besides Caden's hospital bed, and the nights we cried together and prayed together, they are cemented in my mind as a beautiful and poignant picture of the ways that Jesus carried us and held us every step of the way. He still holds us, and this is the real reason you are such an amazing father - because you rely on Christ every single day and He works in and through you to draw our entire family closer to Him as a result.
I love the way you father Caden. How you are always teaching him about how to be the kind of man who isn't afraid to ask for help. Who takes care of those around him, both practically and by noticing their needs and desires and making sure every person feels included and loved. You show him in small and big ways how he can pursue Christ as the head of our household without ever wielding your authority in anything but servitude. Caden's sense of humor always reminds me of you, the way you disarm and win people over immediately by making them laugh. I hope our children learn this gift from you. And I especially hope that they might follow in your footsteps as a protector and provider, and a man after God's heart. 
You are the kind of dad everyone wishes they had. The perfect mixture of patience and silliness, of kindness and wisdom, of playful tickle-fights and snuggles on the couch. You teach our kids (not to mention all the kiddos) about fairness and about fun, and especially about what it means to be a man who loves and follows Jesus every single day.

I just wanted to take a minute today and make sure you knew how grateful we are for who you are. We have all-the-jokes around here about you being "the pioneer woman," and about all the ways you are good at everything. But the truth is that this little urban-homestead we have here runs a whole lot less smoothly without you. Together, we parent our children well, and that is only because you are such an anchor, even when you are at your silliest. Thank you for the ways you love all of us, and for the ways that you allow yourself to learn and grow throughout the process.

I cant wait to see how our newest chapter will unfold as the third Stanley baby joins our clan in just a few short weeks. We've already decided perhaps he will be our craziest one yet, since he kicks me and turns somersaults in my belly on a fairly-constant basis. You always joke that he's a "little Adam," to which I roll my eyes and laughingly joke about how I'm going to need Jesus's help with that one (which is obviously true). But also, if we can raise our boys to be anything like the husband, father, and man that you are every single day - I will consider our work as parents a success. 

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