Every little boy looks up to his Dad. It’s been that way since… forever.

There was always a difference in our house, between Mommy and Daddy. My kids LOVE their Daddy. He is the one that comes home at night to little feet running to the door with shouts of “Daddy’s home!”

I loved watching that scene every night. I never tired of it.

I knew they loved me, mind you. We spent all day together. I was always there. A staple in their world, if you will. I knew their favorite snacks, who liked their sandwiches cut into triangles and when they needed a hug or a firm talk.

We had very specific roles, and it brought a security to their little beings.

In 2005, Declan came into our world. He is #8. and the fourth boy. Like I’ve said before, they’re all different.

Now I’m very sure that all the boys were hopelessly devoted to their Dad… but Declan was different. He was inseparable.

Often, Kevin wakes up early for quiet reading time in the mornings. He’s done that most of our married life, but especially since the kids started coming. It’s his time to reflect, pray and get ready for his day, which often consists of multiple jobs and a soccer team to coach.  Fatherhood = busy.

The layout of our house made it virtually impossible for Kevin to get down the stairs in the morning without Declan seeing him. And if he did manage to sneak by his room, we were fortunate enough to have the creakiest stairs east of the Mississippi.

Declan’s head would invariably pop up off his pillow.

“Shhhh, stay in bed. It’s early, buddy.” Kevin would make his way down the stairs, set the coffee to brew and head for the couch with his book. Declan was already waiting for him.

“Ok, Declan. But I’m going to read, so you’ll need to be quiet.”

“OK! I teach Daddy.”

Teach Daddy. You’re probably wondering what that means. In toddler-speak it means ‘copy Daddy’. Copy everything. From how he sits, to how he holds his coffee cup, but with a sippy cup.

Within minutes though, Teaching Daddy wasn’t enough. He had to be touching Daddy. Leaning his whole little body into him. Next thing Kevin knew, Declan had climbed up on him with his sippy cup and had his head resting on Daddy’s shoulder. Kevin would rub Declan’s back with one hand and try to read his book with the other hand. The coffee would have to wait. The sacrifices we make, am I right?

Declan would Teach Daddy at other times of the day, as well. When Kevin was working on a story for the newspaper, Declan would bring down his bright red Phonics keyboard, made to look like a laptop, except bright red and chunky, and put it on the end table in the living room, next to Daddy’s desk. Pull up a blue Little Tykes chair and get his sippy cup to put next to his ‘laptop’, and he was happy as a clam. He even put a little square piece of paper next to his laptop to match the coaster Kevin used for his coffee cup. Then he would watch Kevin type, mimicking every action.

If you’re looking for a lesson in self-awareness, it’s amazing how aware you become of your own actions when a two-year-old is watching every move you make. Suddenly things don’t seem to trigger your temper quite as easily. Funny how that works.

If there are any Dads reading this, let your little ones ‘Teach’ you. It makes for a better mirror than money can buy.

Keep doing great things. You make a difference.

Happy Father’s Day.

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