Recently, I was cleaning up in the kitchen while Joey and his Dad played in the other room. At one point, the play turned to an affection-fest. I could hear David giving Joey kisses all over his face while Joey laughed and soaked up the love for him ... a common thing to see and hear in our house. Don't ever stop doing that, I thought. All too often, Dads and their sons become more reserved in their affection as the child grows older. At an occasion where a Mom and her child would hug, some Dads offer a simple handshake to their son.
The thought took me back years ago, to when I worked the front desk of the busy headquarters for a local home-building company. There was a big, rough, "manly-man" who had worked his way up the ladder and served as VP for the Construction Department. He had different people in to see him on a regular basis for business purposes. One day, another big, rough, "manly-man" came in to see this VP of Construction, offering only his first name for me to announce to the VP. Upon my calling and telling him he had a visitor, he replied enthusiastically, "That's my BABY!!" His son.
After their visit, when he walked his son to the lobby to see him off, they said "I love you" to each other amidst their farewells and gave a quick hug. Mind you, this young man lived on our local campus - he wasn't heading off to war! I stopped the "manly-man" after his son left to mention his open show of affection for his son, and how wonderful it was to see. I learned that was the way it had always been between he and his two sons - even (or ... especially?) during the vulnerable teen years, and in front of their friends. I said to him, "I hope my husband is the same way if we have a boy someday."
A beautiful, casual show of affection between a man and his grown son. It stayed with me all these years. And based on what I witness on a regular basis at home, we're right on track for my hope to come true.