Recognizing You on Father’s Day Even Though Your Hair Is Gray

“I didn’t recognize that gray haired man,” my husband and I squinted together at the photo on his camera’s screen. 

I saw him immediately in the group picture. He wasn’t so ready to claim himself. His twenty-year-old-self-portrait imagination inhabited an older person he didn’t recognize immediately. 

But I’d know him anywhere.  

If my twenty-year-old self could have seen this picture, would I have been able to recognize the man I’ve been married to for forty-seven years? Could I have seen the father of my children and grandfather to children’s children in that picture way back when?    

I don’t suppose any of us really know what sort of dad the man we marry will grow into, like a picture with dim lighting or an outline of a someday image. Or like vapors of hopes and dreams from which a dad-hood image appears as fog clears.  

One of my daughters asked me once, “How did you know Dad was the right man for you?”

I’d asked myself that question once many years ago.“If everything was stripped away, if all the things that make my heart pound and knees go weak, what kind of a man would he be?”  

“And what was the answer?” she asked, face pensive and brow hopeful. 

“I knew he would be a man who loved God and would be faithful. He would be trustworthy. He would lead well.” 

“…remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thess. 1:3 ESV

Would I have found you in that someday picture?   

You are the one who fixed bicycles and builds a ramp so our daughter can get into the house in a power chair. You are the one who makes log-stump-chairs for grandkids to back into and settle onto and the hands and knees school bus with three little boys to ride on your back.  

“…labor of love…”

I know you now by the nights you can’t sleep and get up to read your Bible and pray for your family. 

You are the one who I ask why in the world were you up at 3:00 am and you say, “God called me,” and then grin at the silliness of a man who can’t sleep.  

“…your work of faith…”

I know you by your assuring smile when I’m afraid, your blue eyes that twinkle when they shouldn’t, and the irritating way you don’t say, “I told you so,” because you don’t have to. 

“…steadfastness of hope…”

I know you by the hard work, and dedication you give to all you do. 

I know you by the unwavering love and loyalty which knits your relationships. 

Yup. I know you even with hair that is white like a Florida beach, and with a wrinkle that furrows your brow, lined like a map of years. 

I know you by the same-place-stains on the front of your shirt and the ice-cream you sneak when you think I don’t know. I know you by the espresso cups on the counter and the shoes I trip over. 

I can pick your broad shoulders out from a plethora of other broad shoulders,  and I still claim yours as mine. 

We laugh (not as heartedly as once) about the day to come when we may forget. We joke about not remembering. But today, I look at a photo of you amid many and thank God I know you. I pick you out again and say, “that one’s mine. I choose him.” 

Happy 45th Father’s Day. 

“…your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope…” 


*feature photo by Sylvia Schroeder

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17 Replies

  1. Lois S. Reply

    Thanks for outlining the strengths of your husband and joys of doing life with him. It is a good reminder and outline for honoring the man who has been the father of my children for 37 Father’s Days. And it was also a pleasant reminder of the man who took on a Sunday school class of junior high students no one else wanted, when they were only four years younger than he was. I appreciated his caring and commitment.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      I love your response so much! Especially the bit about your husband taking on the junior high students. That is one brave man!! I appreciate you reading and again I love the comment!

  2. Marilyn Krehbiel Reply

    SOOOO precious SYL!!!! Such a testimony of God’s faithfulness lived out in your family!!!!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Marilyn. Can you believe how long we’ve been at this thing called marriage?!

  3. Debbie Wilson Reply

    Sylvia, what a delightful post. God bless you and your husband!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks so much Debbie! I appreciate you taking the time to read it and comment. I’m so honored you liked it!

  4. J.D. Wininger Reply

    What a heartfelt, and syrupy sweet, post Ms. Sylvia. Somehow I think Mr. Phil thinks, “Lord, I may never know what I did to deserve a wife like her, but thank You for helping me become the man she wanted, and You made, me to be.”

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      I’m not even gonna begin telling you how embarrassed he is by it!! But, he is pretty happy with it as well! Thanks J.D. always appreciated!

  5. linda k williamson Reply

    Just precious and beautiful a wonderful tribute to your man and a blessed marriage!

  6. Terri Miller Reply

    Lovely post which emphasizes the knowledge we have of someone based on intimacy and relationship.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Terri! I appreciate you reading and commenting! We’ve been married a long time and certainly all relationships have ups and downs, but I am grateful!

  7. andrew brucato Reply

    great reflection. Phil looks great!!

  8. Maribeth Spangenberg Reply

    Please put me on your notice when you post new blogs

  9. Kathy Reply

    Such a wonderful and humorous, too, testimony to your faithful husband and friend!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Kathy! I am really grateful for your response. He is without a doubt a keeper!