Blue jeans and steel-toed boots. Calloused hands and sweat-stained T-shirts. A hat on his head and a tan on his skin. He smells of fresh-cut grass, sawdust, and gasoline. He drinks coffee and spits sunflower seeds. His garage is cluttered and organizedit’s full of junk and it’s loaded with treasures.

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He builds. He dreams. He works. He welds. He sweats. He smiles. He sings off-key. He wakes up when it’s still dark outside and goes to sleep with the sun. His favorite day is Thursday because tomorrow is Friday. He lives for the weekend and home is his safe place. A man—clearly defined in my head.

Until I met you.

Your hands are always clean. You prefer electric tools and battery-operated mowers. You despise the smell of gasoline and you never wear hats. You drink tea instead of coffee and your office is your workplace. You create with your mind as you type, organize thoughts, and accomplish tasks. You don’t build with nails or hammers. You drive a Corolla, not a pickup truck. You hire a handyman for odd jobs and you call roadside assistance to fix a flat.

I have always defined a man by the father I adored. The oil-stained hands that held mine. Those were man hands. I felt safe in them.

But I need you to know—I feel just as safe holding your hands. They are not covered in stains, but they’re strong.

You wear flip flops instead of boots, but you rock our babies with gentle strength and you fly them across the room with complete control. You provide for our family and work endless hours to make sure we have all we need.

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You smile when you want to frown. You love when it’s hard to love. You tuck in our kids and you take them to church. You hold me when I’m anxious and you open doors for me. You do the dishes and you sort laundry. You change diapers and you help with bath time.

You work. You sweat. You dream. You smile. You laugh. And you sing. You’re a man.

My dad taught me to persevere. To keep going. To do hard things. To sacrifice. So have you. My dad had the gift of seeing people. He loved deeply and fiercely. So do you. He wore jeans and a cowboy hat and never complained. You wear cargo shorts and a polo and you never complain.

You’re a man.

And I’m so very thankful you’re mine.

Brooke Harada

Previously a young widow and a single mom, I am currently the proud wife of a talented, handsome, and very patient radioman. I'm a stay-at-home and homeschool mom to our four amazing, creative, and very energetic kiddos. When time can be carved out and the cuddle cups are full, I like to sip coffee on the porch, take deep breaths, and write out my thoughts. It is in these moments that my own cup is filled and my perspective shifts heavenward.