Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Picture of Father's Day

Since our first semi-official Father's Day in 2004 (I called Joe as he was en route to California for business to tell him I was expecting Anna), I have been hyper aware of Father's Day. Maybe it's because I am hyper aware of roughly everything that has anything to do with anything with my kids, or maybe it's just because I'm a hyper aware person.

Either way, that's a lot of hyper.

Anyway, I always had a heightened sense that Father's Day should be more than just a nice lunch out and a card. Thanks to TV, magazines, my Coach online email reminders (did you know you're supposed to get your dad a man purse, according to them? Seriously.), I always feel I fall short in the "strike up the band, it's Father's Day!" department.

This year, especially.

I didn't remember to even get cards, and I was at Target twice and Wal-Mart once.


Anyway, the good news is, I'm the only one in this operation (I hope) who has this false sense of awesomeness when it comes to plans on Father's Day.

Enter Joe.

He's a great dad. Sure, there are times when I wish he was more aware of what I need him to do before I even ask, but the poor guy is a husband and a father, not a mind reader.

Anyway, I am so happy that Joe is the dad our kids need him to be, and that was most witnessed last weekend at Anna's first cattle show.

Showing cattle was a big portion of Joe's teenage years. His good, good friends did and are still showing (just with their kids, now), and the lessons he learned about teaching and sharing were best learned, I think, from that show ring and in the barn.

Last week, when Anna stepped into the ring, I couldn't find Joe at first. Thinking he would be right beside her as she waited to walk in, I was surprised when he showed up by my side, in the bleacher area. As we watched our little girl lead her animal with such confidence, smiling at the judge as he walked by, I couldn't help but burst with pride. Not just for Anna, but for Joe. He has worked so hard to help Anna be confident in herself in the ring. He instilled in her, in just the short year they have been working with these animals, that this was her deal. He wasn't going to be the dad who spent a ton of money on an animal, work with it himself, and then hand the halter to her just as she walked into the ring. He wanted her to feel the joy and confidence and satisfaction for her hard work. While he was spending those early mornings with what she thought was just brushing and washing and leading, Joe was really teaching Anna how to succeed, herself.

Doing it all herself.

That's pretty amazing, really. In a world where moms and dads are accused of being helicopter parents, Joe is exceptional at teaching the kids a skill and walking away to let them do it. "Figure it out," is one of his favorite phrases, and our kids have all become more and more independent because of this skill he has instilled in them.

We have a lot of kids, so there's a lot of chances to learn. Similarly, there are probably more learning opportunities out here on the farm, but the manner in which Joe allows our kids to have age appropriate success and failure makes him a great dad. My hyper sensitivity to the materialism of Father's Day is simmered down by the fact that Joe wants to just be a good dad, and doesn't need a Coach Man-Purse to celebrate. However, the recliner we did get him seems to suit him well (and I was able to pick out the one I wanted, not the cup-holdered marshmallow-y, armchair quarterback number that may or may not have come home, should he have been with me! Ha!).

Thanks for being my partner in this endeavor, Farmer Joe. My hope is that when we're 54 and 57, and our final kids (notice I said FINAL?) are 18, we can look at our kids and see all the great qualities you have helped instill in their personalities.

Happy Father's Day, my dearest.
On the first day of second grade with Anna.

Three generations of Webel men.

Joe and Jack watching the combine.

Two of his favorite helpers.


  1. I love reading your blog,
    I study at the Royal Agricultural University in England, and would really appreciate it if you would check out my new farming blog on my journey to becoming a farmer at:

    Thank you

  2. My ten year-old daughter just started showing cattle this spring too. I am so, so proud of my husband for teaching her what to do instead of doing it for her. The pictures I took of the two of them working together with the heifer make me get a little weepy. He's also stood up to his dad for her right decide 1) how hard-core she wants to be and 2) to learn the hard way instead of being rescued by papa and daddy. The growth I've seen in my daughter has been astounding. I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about, though!