A Unique and Special Relationship with Dad

By Gina Sternfels

In the reading “The Consecration to St Joseph,” I was given new perspectives on St Joseph’s role as the earthly father of Jesus and our father.  It was beautiful to explore how he is there to intercede for us.  It also shed a new light on how my husband plays with our son, Ivan, who has autism – something that I struggled with.

Ivan, since he was little, loves to wrestle with his dad. One thing important to my husband in raising boys was that he wanted to be rough and tumble with them because he did not have that growing up.  For me, growing up with a big brother, I was the one to get hurt.  

Whether it was because of my personal past or being a responsible momma, I would wind up yelling, “Don’t get carried away!” and worry about my husband or Ivan getting hurt.

Ivan sought the deep pressure, so I knew he would most likely not outgrow wrestling with dad. With all the therapy we have done, we have been taught to think ahead. It is best to teach things the right way from the beginning, so we do not have to go back and reteach.

My biggest concern was Ivan, who was always a big boy, would keep growing and possibly be bigger than my husband. At 17 years old, Ivan is over 6 feet tall and even happier wrestling with his dad now! I wanted to keep my husband from hurting his back, too

Now, I know God has been having me work on patience in many ways over the years. I have also learned so much about St Joseph in doing the consecration. It helped me see him as a great model of patience for us.  

Throughout reading the book, I started to see this as an opportunity to give my husband some credit!  I can allow him to create his own relationship with our son.  Plus, my husband has learned to adapt his wrestling time with Ivan in different ways. One example is he brought it down a few notches and even created a “soft” wrestle! It sounds funny, but it works, and this is part of their relationship. 

Our son’s face still lights up in total joy looking at his father. Their relationship is unique and theirs alone.

I think our Lord would love to see our faces light up and witness that love in our eyes when we are in prayer or at Mass. It may not be wrestling, but he wants us to desire that special and unique relationship with him.  

I am sure Jesus had that special relationship with St Joseph. When a father teaches his children and guides them in life, that special bond is a gift to be grateful for. St Joseph, pray for us and especially all the fathers with whom we have been blessed.   

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