International Mens Day: who are you celebrating?

Today is International Mens Day. This is a day to celebrate the men in our lives and all the amazing things that they are and do. This year’s theme is “positive male role models.” And to commemorate this uberliciously fabulous day, I’d like to take today’s post to honor two very special men in my life; hubby and my step-dad (who I refer to as Dad now). Both of whom have been a major positive role model in my life.

Hubby…my hero!

Y’all know how much I adore hubby. Just this past weekend we celebrated 8 years together and he spoiled me with an incredible bauble…just the kind I like all sparkly and beautiful. He took me out to dinner and to see the Twilight Breaking Dawn Part II.

But hubby is so much more than the ultimate gift buyer and movie goer. He is more than urban word Wednesday fun. He is so much more than the guy who spoils me with new clothes and a panty drawer overhaul. He is an incredible person, best friend, husband, lover, role model and father.

Hubby has taught me how to love and trust in relationships and life again. When he came into my life, I was pretty skeptical. I had lost my father in a car accident 13 short years earlier and the mark of that devastation and lost was firmly tattooed on my heart and soul. I was paralyzed by the fear that any man I loved was going to leave me; one way or another. That fear of abandonment dominated my life and left me unable to love, trust and experience healthy relationships.

When hubby came into my life, there was no doubt I was in the best place I had ever been. I had taken months on my own to build up my self-esteem and self-love but I was still unsure of how to translate that into a relationship…and I wasn’t sure if I even could.

But when he came into my life, hubby took his time. He was patient, open, kind and loving. He shared with me. He bore his soul to me. He showed me what it was to be vulnerable and to put your heart in someone else’s hand with no expectations for the future. He had enough faith in love and “us” for the two of us. And with him as a constant, I began to see the light. I began to fall in love and shared myself in a way I had never done before. For the first time in what felt like a very long time, I was able to let go…and with complete abandonment, love!

With hubby…I finally became whole…and found myself.

But before hubby, came another defining relationship in my life that I believe was instrumental in my healing. My Dad.

My Dad…my other hero!

My Mom had been a window and single for 8 years before my Dad came into the picture. Mom and I had lived together as roommates for most of that time and we had a very close relationship. I knew she was ready to start dating and I really wanted to see her happy. I mean come on…8 years had passed. She was a vibrant, incredible woman in the prime of her life…she deserved to find love again!

It shocked me how upset and angry I was when she did actually start dating and falling in love with another man. In my head, I knew it was a great thing and I knew the man was perfect for her…but my heart was another matter. I couldn’t seem to get passed it. For years, my relationship with my Dad although positive and loving on the surface, had an underlying current of distrust and hurt. I loved him. I was happy for her. But I struggled to truly accept and love him wholeheartedly.

For years, I called my Dad by his first name and held him somewhat at arm’s length. I married my first husband and moved out of the house and a few years passed.

It was when I left my first husband and moved back home that my relationships with my Dad totally changed. Of course, Mom was there for me for hours of counseling and talking but she was also working a lot so it just so happened that my Dad and I were home together, a lot. I was struggling to find the answers to how I had made such a mess of my life and my Dad was there for me at every turn.

All these years he had never pushed or tried to force a deeper relationship with me. And here we found ourselves talking for hours on end. He helped me through the pain and devastation. He taught me about love, acceptance, and self-love. He helped me to take accountability for my choices and decisions that had led me to where I was. He showed me what it was to listen, to be heard, and to feel understood. He enabled and empowered me to figure out who I wanted to be going forward. And in those weeks and months, he became a father to me in every sense of the word.

Without knowing or trying, we became a father and a daughter and in that…a piece of my heart that I thought was permanently broken with the death of my father, healed. I became whole again. And I started calling him Dad…because that’s what he had become.

Hubby and Dad…these two men who came into my world later in life but both have played critical roles in helping me shape and define who I am today.

So today…on International Mens Day…I celebrate you hubby and Dad…the two most influencing men in my life. Two of my greatest joys. Two of the most incredible men I’ve had the honor to know and love. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me and for everything you continue to do. Without either of you, my world wouldn’t be the same.

I love you both more than words could ever say!

What men do you celebrate today? How have they shaped you and your life? What man has been the greatest role model in your life and why? Come on…share the wealth…

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Comments

  1. Beautiful post, and beautiful you! Wow. I had no idea today was International Mens Day, on a Girl Boner Monday, of all days. 😉 I think that embracing our sexuality is a gift women give to ourselves and guys (and/or gals), so perhaps it’s more timely than it seems.

    I had chills reading about you and your dad. I’m thankful for him today!

    • BTW, can I just say…I love your Girl Boner Mondays!!! Girl…you rock!!!

      And I absolutely agree, embracing our sexuality is a gift we give ourselves as women which is…in turn…a gift for our guys! BAM!

      I am thankful as well…for all the “good ones” out there because I know, there are lots! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the awesome shout out, friend!

  3. Ooh, I got all teary and sniffly…thank you for being so authentic, Natalie. I’m so glad you came through the tough times to where you are now! For me, the most important men in my life are my Dad, my hubby, and my three boys. All terrific men, and I don’t know where I’d be without them.

  4. What a beautiful tribute to two great men! So happy you have them in your life! My dad and hubby are awesome, too. So thankful for good men. So many bad examples out there, nice to know there are good ones. 🙂

  5. Coleen Patrick says:

    Ah such a sweet post! And I love that your hubby takes you to see Twilight!!

  6. Shannon Esposito says:

    You gave me chills! If anyone deserves to feel whole and loved, it is you. Thank you for sharing this piece of your story with us & happy men’s day!!! I’m going to squeeze my hubby and two little 6 yr. old men extra hard today. 🙂

  7. Natalie: Congrats on finding 2 bright n shining stars in what is a very dark world/dark times. You are so blessed to have found these *stars*. Thank you for sharing these 2 beautiful stories with us.

  8. Raani York says:

    What a GREAT blog post Natalie!! This is absolutely great. It’s a tribute to two apparently really valuable men in your life and every single one of your words show your affection!
    Thanks for sharing this and thanks for making my tears water, emotionally feeling with you! I really enjoyed this!

    • Oh Ranni…thank YOU so much for your amazing comment. Brought tears to my eyes. I have been so blessed in my life to have these two incredible men that helped me heal and grow…it was a pleasure to share them with the world!
      HUGS!

  9. Lovely, lovely, lovely! *sniffle, reaching for ANOTHER tissue*

  10. Okay, I need tissue. This is an awesome post!

    And you my dear, are absolutely breathtaking in that gown.

    I’m so glad you have 2 amazing men in your life. I too have a super awesome husband and always there dad. He’s not perfect, but he’s mine and he’ll never let me down.

    Thanks for sharing such an intimate special part of your life.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Soooo glad you enjoyed Patricia!! These two certainly do rock my world and I owe them both so much….

      Oh yes, I’ve read about your hubby and I know he ROCKS!! Glad to hear your Dad is always there for you as well. Of course they aren’t perfect…even hubby has his days (shhhhh…don’t tell anyone) but I think it’s those oddities that make us love them even more. And knowing that they will never let you down…well, that’s gold!

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment – really appreciate! 🙂

  11. This makes me miss my dad and grandpa a lot. How fortunate and blessed you are to have Scott and your dad. 🙂

  12. Hubby AKA Natsman says:

    You are just too easy to love and respect!!! – thanks for the love! Rackin up the ol points today!!! (Not that you need any)

  13. This was lovely! I always appreciate being reminded to love the people I love. If you know what I mean. 🙂 And I didn’t even know there WAS an international mens day.

  14. I am daddy’s little girl.

  15. lovely post, Natalie. You are a very lucky lady. You almost make me think that a man might enrich my life…not quite but close.

  16. This time instead of a “Like” button, I needed to click a “Love” button. This post is wonderful! Sometimes when women have been hurt by men, they want to lump the whole male species into one “not worth it” category. But I have seen time and time again that there are truly incredible men out there. I’m thrilled to have my fabulous hubby and two sons whom I pray grow to become strong-yet-gentle men. Beautiful post, Natalie.

    And I SO love your wedding dress!

    • Hubby aka Blog Heckler says:

      Doesn’t she look amazing in that dress??
      Every time I see our wedding pics…I still lose my breath…such a beautiful woman!

    • Awwwww thank you Julie!!!

      I couldn’t agree more. I know a lot of single gals who come across some real douchebags so I know the jerks are out there. BUT, I do believe there are just as many wonderful, incredible, and genuine men out there. Sometimes, it can be a challenge to find them but they are there. Not only do you have one yourself…but you are raising 2 more. I mean, what an outstanding gift to the world! 🙂

  17. Dang it, I got all misty too. 🙂 I missed this with all the Thanksgiving Hooplah. I’ll offer up my hubby and my brother, the Bag Whore. Definitely the two most influential men in my life. 🙂

    • I love that the BAG WHORE has been a huge influence on your life….CRACKS me up!!

      Yes, I already know you got yourself a STELLAR hubby as well…we are some lucky ladies to have such fine men in our midst! 🙂

  18. Natalie – How did I miss this the most beautiful of all posts I believe I may have never read a tribute to the men in not only your world but it speaks directly to my heart. The unconditional love you have for your hubby – the man that so patiently waited for your heart to open and trust again and your new dad that had the wisdom to know the broken heart of a little girl would flourish into the complete heart of a woman and then she’d see the love he had to offer her. Spectacular. The best advocacy of all – for love – for those of us that wait for the real thing to come along. Here’s a toast that everyday belongs to our hubby’s and loving father’s everywhere.

    • Awwww…thank you so much for your wonderful comment Sheri. I am so glad you found the post and enjoyed it so much. I was so honored and happy to author it and be able to speak from my heart and celebrate these two fine men that mean so much to me. 🙂

      Here is to that wonderful toast to our amazing hubby’s and fabulous father’s everywhere.

Trackbacks

  1. […] out Natalie Hartford’s blog to see what other celebration shares November 19th. Actually it seems rather appropriate given the […]

  2. […] missed World Toilet Day and International Men’s Day here at More Cowbell! Thankfully, Kristy K. James and Natalie Hartford did it for us. And trust me, […]

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