June 21, 2020
F is for Father’s Day.
I cooked a bacon, sausage, and eggs breakfast for Paul (in 3 different perfectly seasoned cast iron skillets without any sticking), and brewed his coffee. But then he spilled his coffee while educating me on the correct method of stirring in the creamer and sugar. Clockwise then counterclockwise. The coffee splashed on the floor and he may have dropped the bomb. That bomb. An overreaction, to be sure. But there’s grace to cover the transgression.
Paul Mauk is truly the fatherhood bomb. He’s pretty selfless giving his talents and time. I can’t think of a time when a softballer, related to Paul or not, has ever asked him for help honing her skills when he hasn’t been more than happy to set up a net and tee or work on throwing and catching. I don’t think he has ever said “no” even when he is tired and worn out.
He defers to me on some matters of the heart with the kids. But he has never backed down from a serious, in depth discussion on some very hard topics. His wise counsel comes from a deep well of personal experience. Our girls and many of their friends have sought guidance from him, and occasionally they’ve received that guidance without even asking for it!
He’s a sentimental softie whose tears flow easily when a word or song or glance touches a memory right below the surface. When he checks his daily Facebook memories, he’s likely to park on the past and ruminate on the remembrance like it’s a souvenir from a favorite vacation spot. He delights in every birthday and holiday and special event as if they’ve never happened before. But the girls and I know his routine because we’ve seen it before and it’s not new to us. He’s probably going to sing a goofy song and dance a little jig, stick ribbons and bows on his head and make little jokes. The same jokes as last year. And the year before.
He’s a bonus dad to many, many girls who have come through these doors. They often text or call him to wish him happy birthday, and one sent Happy Father’s Day wishes to him earlier. They remember him because they know he cares about them, and they appreciate the way he has invested in their lives. He loves all of you. And now we see the boyfriends. Having some extra testosterone in the family is new to us, and Paul appreciates not being the odd man out. Watching him with the boyfriends gives a hopeful glimpse of how much he will enjoy being a father-in-law someday.
Paul is a father who understands how to celebrate the victories of life. How easy is that? But also how to make a comeback from the failures. He tries to be careful with the tender emotions of his girls, those mysterious creatures who process things in ways he doesn’t understand. He’s been harsh at times, but I’ve seen him soften with apologies and redirect his expectations when appropriate. And because he’s a man who knows forgiveness, he also knows how important it is to pave a path of redemption and restoration when the girls have been corrected. He’s a good, good father.
Happy, happy Father’s Day to Paul Mauk. He’s the bomb. The F-Bomb.