You slipped your arms around my waist as I stood at the kitchen counter, slicing veggies for dinner. “I love you, babe,” you whispered in my ear. With a quick kiss on my cheek, you grabbed the burgers and headed out to the grill.

Not a second later, I felt little arms wrap around my legs, and the touch of tiny lips against my knee. “I love you, Mama!” the sweetest little voice exclaimed from a blue-eyed toddler who shares your smile.

The moment stirred my heart, and I knew right where our son had picked up such a loving gesture—from you, his daddy.

You’re his hero, you know. It’s no secret he wants to be just like you. He follows you around, and wears your ball cap, and watches out the window every evening as he waits for your truck to pull into the driveway.

And I know this might seem like a tired cliche, but it’s true . . . Daddy, your sons are watching you.

What a blessing that is.
What a responsibility that is.

They’re watching you, Daddy, as you wake up with the sun to get ready for a long day of work. They wave as you drive away to selflessly provide for your family.

They listen as you tell their sister she’s precious and me, their mommy, how much I mean to you. Through you, they’re learning how to love well with dignity and respect.

They giggle as you playfully tease us all, and they’re becoming jokesters just like you, able to find humor and joy in every moment.

They take note of your actions in the midst of conflict. You’re showing them how to keep their cool and how to discuss with grace and an open mind. The quiet way in which you handle disagreements speaks volumes.

They see the way you rush to hold the door open for an elderly couple to pass through, and when you take off your hat to say hello I see them do the same.

They notice the pleases and thank yous and sirs and ma’ams that roll so naturally off of your tongue as you address the world around you with kindness and respect.

They hear your gratitude for the dinner plate handed your way, whether it’s filled with steak or a helping of leftover mac ‘n cheese.

They’re watching you, Daddy, and whether you realize your impact or not, they’re tracing your every step.

You’re teaching them how to be a daddy . . . when you sing to them, when you hold their hands. When you kneel down to look them in the eye and when you make the time to listen to what they have to say. When you read them a story, when you play with them, when you tuck them into bed and kiss their foreheads softly. When you chase away their bad dreams in the middle of the night.

You’re teaching them how to be husbands . . . when you tell me I’m beautiful, when you reach for my hand across the center console of the car. When you leave me a sweet note of encouragement just because. When you ask if you can do anything to help, and when you care for me when I’m not feeling well.

You’re teaching them how to be men . . . when you look others in the eye, when you greet people with a hug or a steady handshake. When you admit your mistakes and use the words, “I’m sorry” without hesitation. When you pull over to help change someone’s tire or pull them from a snow bank.

Your sons see it all, Daddy, every moment. They’re always watching, and it’s because of you that they’re learning . . .

Character is stronger than muscle.

Words hold a mighty power within them.

Love is best shown through action.

Every night as I lie in bed, I glance over at your already-sleeping silhouette next to me. In that moment, my heart fills with gratitude for the man you are. What a gift our family has been given in you.

And every night, I squeeze my eyes tight and send up a prayer thanking God that of all the daddies in this world, our sons are watching you.

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Casey Huff

Casey is a middle school teacher turned stay-at-home-mama to three littles. It's her mission as a writer to shine light on the journey of a young wife and mom; the good, the bad, and always the real. When she's not writing, Casey is likely to be yelling COME DOWN FROM THERE! or DON'T LICK YOUR BROTHER!, and procrastinating on the housework.  To read more, go hang out with Casey at: Facebook: Bouncing Forward Instagram: @bouncing_forward