Thursday, May 21, 2009


I loved the final scene of American Idol last night, seeing Kris Allen look around for his wife, and then, like a moment out of Rocky, I loved how he buried his face in her neck and cried. It was such an anti-Hollywood moment, real-life splendor about love and loyalty right in front of the very man who had warned Kris early on not to talk about his wife or being married lest it ruin his "Idol-image".

Bravo, Kris, for putting your wife and your marriage out there, and for not listening to "media wisdom". It's sad that the very place made famous for putting images of love on celluloid is so poor at maintaining it in real time and space. I wish Kris and his wife well. The hard part is just beginning, and I hope they can survive it.

I hope he will remember what he already seems to know--that something magical and divine is released in men when they take their place in a family. Fatherhood is the ultimate game-changer, but I see it in the men in my family as they rise to be better husbands, uncles, grandfathers and brothers.

All the men in my family played competitive sports in college, and they see themselves as alpha-males--tough, strong, driven. But put them near a child, let them hear the sound of a baby within arm's reach, and they are little more than mush.

It was one of the greatest thrills of my life to watch Tom, our oldest son, become a father for the first time. The big hands that caught footballs and strangled the opposing offense molded naturally around his new baby son. I laugh now when I see how he changes diapers, prepares bottles and feeds babies while balancing his Blackberry on his shoulder or with his earpiece in place.

There's a photo on here, taken at my son-in-law Nick's pre-fatherhood birthday party. We put together a "Daddy Diaper Bag" for him, filled with ridiculous things to commemorate his coming role. He loved it, because he was thrilled by the notion of becoming a first-time father. The thrill has only intensified. We were attending a wedding the other day. I had taken the baby from Nick's arms, Amanda was enjoy a break chatting with friends, and where was Nick? He was sitting with the guys chatting about manly sports things with a burp cloth draped over his shoulder. I wish I had had a camera handy. It was a great moment.

The single guys fight over the babies as much as they do the guitars for Rock Band, keeping watch on the clock to make sure they get their fair amount of time. I know they're going to be great fathers when their time finally comes. After all, they've had years of experience.
And I admire my daughter-in-law, Krista's, gentle way of instilling this family-love in her son, little Tommy, who hovers over his baby brother and sister like a little papa . . . no . . . like a good brother should.

It's also been delightful to watch Tom become a grandfather. The once mighty baseball player who suited by beside Johnny bench years ago moves a lot slower now. He doesn't run too nimbly anymore and most of his grandbabies are far away, but he is the king of long-distance communication and the master of web-cam baseball. Babies sleep soundly on his chest while he smiles down upon them. It's a beautiful thing.

So while we watch men crash cars, unravel mysteries and murders; and survive super-hero-making surgeries, I have to ask these few things: Can they change a poopy diaper while closing a business deal? Can they unravel a tangled yo-yo string for a waiting child? Can they watch a baby being born and not know it's the greatest super-hero moment of all?

Didn't think so. . . So to all the Kris Allen-like men who proudly declare that they are the family men, hurrah for you!

We love you all.

1 comment:

  1. That was a beautiful tribute to the awesome men in our lives! Thank you for reminding me how lucky I am to have each and every one!