Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

We’re headed up to the hills today to celebrate Father’s Day. We will grill out, roast marshmallows, and play mini golf at a little resort about an hour from our home. For Dave, there is nothing better for Father’s Day than burgers, a beer, and family. On this Father’s Day, as three of our children have passed into their 20s and the other two are well on their way to teenage drama, I find myself reflecting on the contributions my children’s father makes to our family.

In my eyes, Dave is an exceptional man. He is a wonderful partner to me, and I truly believe that he is a great dad. It is always hard to find balance in life, and between our obligations and those obligations our kids bestow upon us, we sometimes find ourselves overwhelmed. Yet no matter how tired Dave is at the end of the day, each child is shown that moment of individual attention from him; and for Dave, there is nothing more revitalizing after a long day than to “recharge” by spending time with his family.

Dave places his role as a father at higher importance than any other—more important than career or hobby. Being a father is what seems to bring him the most joy (hence, five kids, perhaps!). His passion for his family has taken priority over jobs that conflicted with his ability to care for the kids when he was a single dad; and caring for his children is something he takes a great deal of pride in doing well. He sometimes agonizes over the decisions he makes concerning the kids, always wanting to make sure he is giving them the best life possible.

There is no doubt in my mind how much he loves his kids. From sharing a movie or ball game with Derek or Kyle, to coaching Kira’s soccer team, to playing music or going to concerts with Parker, to sitting through Anika’s three hour dance recital just to see her 8 minutes of stage time, he loves being there for his kids and spending time with them.

When I first met Dave, I believe that the way he behaved with the kids was part of what attracted me to him. His compassion was easy to see. His love and adoration was obvious.

The two of us spent a lot of time with the older kids when we dated. I remember being shocked when all of us went to the park for the first time. I was prepared to sit on a park bench and watch the kids play, but Dave jumped right in and started playing with the kids on the playground—playing tag, swinging, even going down the slide. Dave had as much fun as the kids did and has helped me learn how to do the same.

Dave is just as energetic and fun loving with Parker and Anika as he was with Derek and Kira and Kyle when they were younger. It has been fun to watch his relationship with the older kids change as they grow into adulthood. Who they are and what they are becoming is a huge tribute to the time and energy their father has put into raising them.

Dave is a great dad. I cannot say that enough. I have learned that it is ok to let the little things go, that kids really only want to please, and that it is ok to be silly and have fun, as a result of watching him. He has brought joy and happiness to my life by providing me with five wonderful kids to love and has shown me the wonder in staying a kid myself. I am a very lucky woman.