Maybe it's the element of the masculine ego tinged with the tenderness of a parent. Maybe it's the deep voices saying the sweet words of love. Maybe it's all those rough whiskers softening into a smile when the splinter finally comes out.
Whatever it is, it gets me every time.
Earlier this week we sat in the blazing sun at a track meet. The heat index was about 100 degrees, and our dinner was burning in the oven at home. Kids were overcome by the heat and a couple threw up, but still we sat there waiting for our son's run. Checkered repeatedly took work calls and handled a couple of crises. The dad below us tried valiantly to finish a work project on his laptop. We were all there for the same good reason.
A few seats over from us sat a dad in his heavy work clothes. He looked entirely miserable. His eyes, though, never left his son. In the stadium, in the infield, on the track - those dad's eyes followed his boy.
Eventually the boy made his way up the bleachers to his dad. They stood there, awkwardness all over the place and no words between them. Finally the boy said he had to rejoin his team and he walked all the way down the bleachers. Then he stopped. Looked around at all the people watching him. And again climbed back to his dad. He leaned over in that heat and with all of us looking on, that teen-aged boy kissed his dad.
"Dad? Thanks for being here."
And then he ran down the bleachers and was gone.
I thought I was the only one with a melting heart until I heard one of the ladies near us asking, "Did you see that boy?" Of course, the lady asking had already complained that she had just spent $85 on her hair just to have it ruined in the heat and the wind. But she said it was worth it.
A dad's love surely is a grand thing, isn't it?