It Takes a Man—and a Woman

From the dust comes the life, a breath from God that allows man to breathe. From man comes the rib of womanhood. Thus begins a story known by all, whose ending is known only by God. In between is the stuff of life, from the first patriarch to the last father and son. In between is the man I know and love, whose love is unconditional; whose conditions I have broken without breaking his confidence in me; whose limits I have tested without him limiting his tolerance of me; whose pain I have caused without him deliberately hurting me; whose imperfections are many but far fewer than mine will ever be.

Such is the star not of stage and screen but the hero of my life: the man who gave life to me. He did it with a strong woman at his side, as she labored to help raise me well after she had finished laboring to birth me.

Their marriage may have ceased but their love for each other endures, which explains their love for me.

Sometimes the woman makes the man. Sometimes the woman makes the man better. My father is a better man—and a good father—because he married a great woman, who also happens to be my mother.

Their union continues, I believe, because parenthood demands maturity. It is a bond more valuable than any financial bond that has reached maturity. The maturity to be a father requires the toughness to be a man; to be more wise than intelligent, because the former is the result of living a life in full—with all the concomitant highs and lows, from professional success to personal sorrow—while the latter is the result of nothing more than an IQ test.

Maturity is not, in contrast, quantifiable. It is neither the product of age nor the promise of academic achievement. It is, rather, the measure of a man’s sense of honor and duty. It is the fulfillment of a father’s promise to be a man.

It takes courage to raise a man. Everything else pales in comparison, which may be the reason why my father is so tan.

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