Checkmate

Let me tell you about my husband Thom.  We’ve been married for thirty years, and he was the catch of a lifetime.

He was a kindergarten teacher, and courted me by reading his favorite picture books to me.  I should have known he was destined to become a librarian, but I always knew he would be a good Daddy.   

First to one…

…and then two.

Nothing could faze him–not even a Universal Bad Hair Day.

And he had tough shoes to fill.

I had a daunting checklist.  The father of my children had to be intelligent (check), compassionate (check), responsible (check), a man of integrity (check) and possessed of patience, LOTS of patience (CHECK!).  In fact, my mother always said it would take someone with the patience of kindergarten teacher to manage me, not to mention the children.  But most of all, he couldn’t be afraid to get his feet wet.

Or to dress up and play pretend.

Or to  know when to relax and put up his feet.

He has clearly been a good influence on the children.

He taught them everything he knows.

He helped introduce them to that wide world out there.

And all its wonders.

Big…

…and little.

From Australia….

…to (New) Zealand.

Past…

…and present.

With good humor…

…great teamwork…

…and dignity…

…always dignity!

Someone ought to raise a statue in his honor.

But I know he’ll settle for chocolate…

Happy Father’s Day, Thom!  Thanks for EVERYTHING!

All words and images Copyright 2013 Naomi Baltuck

159 Comments

  1. THIS IS ADORABLE! I love this post. And of course I love Dad. So many good memories here 🙂

    1. Dear Bea,
      It sure brought back a lot of sweet memories for me too. The hardest part in putting this post together was narrowing it down, and deciding which ones to use.
      See you soon!
      Love,
      Mom

  2. Awww! I recognize that trail of Hershey’s kisses…it used to show up at my house on our Kiss Anniversary each year. Kindergarten teachers are certainly a precious and unique kind of animal. I lasted only half a day in Kindergarten as a substitute teacher…I would take 8th grade Algebra over a repeat stint at that young class any day! Thom sure sounds like he’s worth his weight in gold…lucky you and family!

    1. Dear Scilla,
      Why does it not surprise me that you leave trails of Hershey kisses in your house too! I think we must have been sisters in another life. We didn’t celebrate kiss anniversaries–but we did celebrate mensiversaries. We were married on the 27th of March, which was the 27th mensiversary of our first date.

    1. Thank you, Mary. No matter how many pictures I take, I always wish I had taken more. Blogging has been such a fun way to use and share the photos I have always loved taking. It’s a new kind of storytelling–electronic, with visual aids, but it feels like storytelling to me.
      Thanks so much for your visit, and your sweet response. I always love to hear from you.

    1. Thanks so much, Lisa! It has been a nice day, but quiet–our first without at least one kid there to celebrate with–but we have been communicating with both kids off and on all day, and loving that. We went to the art fair, had a nice dinner, and played cards with my brother and Thom’s mom.
      I hope you had a good day too.

  3. Dearest Naomi, this brought tears to my eyes. Just seeing your wonderful family grow through the years together bound by a wholesome warmth and obvious love. What a fine man indeed Thom is. A good man. Anyone who is a kindergarten teacher is indeed a catch of a lifetime. Thank you for sharing this beautiful life with us. The world needs more fathers like Thom. So much hugs to you, Sharon

    1. Dear Sharon,
      You have such a tender heart! Thom and I used to teach together, and when I saw him working with kids–so patient, so kind, it really warmed my heart. The kids in our classes loved to tease us by calling us Mommy and Daddy, but you know, it sounded pretty good! Thanks so much for your very thoughtful response.
      Love and hugs to you,
      Naomi

  4. Aww, Naomi! That’s fabulous! So lovely to see how much you appreciate and rely on him, after 30 years. (mine’s susceptible to chocolate too 🙂 )

    1. Dear Cathryn,
      If we were married when we met you, we were still just newlyweds. It gives me great pleasure to know that you are still a part of our life after all these years!
      Love,
      Naomi

  5. What a great post for father’s day. And what a great catch you both made. Lucky kids to have you as parents!

  6. Wow. Such a lovely tribute for Father’s Day. For me this is heartwarming because so many couples I know didn’t last this long. You are a lucky family, Naomi. Congratulations for every single Father’s Day.

    1. Thank you. I take very little for granted in this life, and my appreciation for Thom is expressed and demonstrated every day. Still, it is fun to make a public declaration. He was pleased and surprised.

  7. Unconditional love is powerful indeed – you must have one strong family. (PS I have Keeper of the Crystal Spring on the bedside table and ready to go – historical fiction, cool).

    1. Dear Roy,
      My family is not everything, but it is the most important thing in my life.
      I hope you like The Keeper of the Crystal Spring. I spent several years in the Middle Ages while writing that book, and I loved every minute of it. I can’t wait to read yours!

    1. Dear Viv,
      We try to make every dat matter, and to appreciate the contributions of each member of our family. But once in awhile, it feels good to receive a very pointed declaration of appreciation, and Father’s Day is an appropriate time to sing that man’s praises.
      Thanks so much for your visit, and for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Dear Amy,
      Thanks so much for your generous comments. I didn’t know when I took all those pictures that I would ever think of blogging. But the photos are a new way to help tell the story.

  8. I SOOO enjoyed this. I know I’ve said this to you before, but I know how much time it takes to do something like this. I like that you do substantial posts and just post less frequently. This was so good – what a hoot to see all the pictures!

    You should make this up into an 8 x 8 photo album to keep on the shelf. It’s too good to only be in your blog. My suggestion and that’s all it is.

    Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy,
      You are so kind! I now have a good excuse to travel–I have to keep taking photos, so I don’t run out of material!
      I love your idea about a book!
      Warmly,
      Naomi

      1. You’ve already done the work! And don’t wait for it to be perfect either. There’s always something you can add or do different. I’m a big believer in just doing it because those kinds of things tend to never get finished.

    1. Dear Jamie,
      Thank you! I had to have a little fun with this one. It was our first Father’s Day when one kid was across the country, and the other out of the country. I was a little worried, but thanks to the miracle of e-mail, and texting, and FB messaging, we were communicating with the kids on and off all day, in between chocolate, the art fair, chocolate, dinner with Grandma and brother Lew, chocolate, refereeing soccer, nap on the couch, more chocolate, playing cards, etc. Oh, yeah, and did I mention chocolate? But mostly it was a day of sweets because of all those connections with the kids.
      Thanks so much for sharing the post on FB. You are so generous!
      Love,
      Naomi

  9. SUPER WONDERFUL …. love everything about it. Your words describe every picture with a humorously loving description. The way you’ve placed them chronologically is perfection. I was smiling through the entire post. Thanks for the smiles, Naomi.

    1. Dear Isadora,
      Thank you for your very kind response! Through blogging I have loved learning a new way to share my stories, combining both words and images. It has also been a wonderful way to meet people from all over the world, form all walks of life, and I have truly enjoyed meeting you.

  10. A wonderful and fun tribute to a remarkable man Naomi. And you found just the right images to match! You sure are a lucky lady 🙂

  11. Fantastic array of photos and memories. I bet your husband was chuffed when he saw what you did. 🙂

    1. Hi Kim,
      I had to look up “chuffed” in the dictionary, but it was the perfect word for it. Although he is not effusive, he is really quite a sentimental guy, and he was very touched and pleased. Thanks for the kind words.

  12. I enjoyed your excellent tribute to your husband and father of your children. What a fun ride! All the best to you all.
    Ruth in Pittsburgh

    1. Hi Ruth,
      Thanks so much for the visit, and for your very kind response. It has been a wonderful ride–better than I knew enough to hope for. I wish all the best to you and yours!

  13. A post to celebrate always. Wishing your hubby an amazing Father’s Day. He is one amazing man, father, husband, friend. God bless him always.

    1. Thank you so much! I got lucky. All I have to do is look at my kids, and I well up with love and gratitude to my husband for helping them grow into the wonderful people they have become. Thank you for all the kind words about my husband–all I can say is, “It takes one to know one.” Your family is so lucky to have you.

  14. I love this!! Greatest Father’s Day post ever. What a wonderful tribute. I wish I’d thought to write something like this for my husband. He’s exactly the father I wanted for my kids. Hopefully they know how lucky they are. I do!

    I think you and your kids feel the same way about your husband. Great dads deserve all the recognition in the world.

    1. Dear Juliann,
      The good news is that it sounds like you have a real keeper there, and you can start thinking about what you want to say. I am so glad for both you and your kids! Thanks for stopping by, and sharing your thoughts and your story.

  15. Aw that was a terrific Father’s Day gift! Congrats on having such a wonderful husband and father for your kids. 🙂

      1. Very lucky! Lol. I tried. It went well. Not sure how much translated into book sales. It’s hard to tell. But I met some great folks!

  16. Lovely! I got nothing more to add that everyone else has said. You are indeed doubly blessed! Hugs, Mary

    1. Thank you, dear Jamie! It’s a quiet and lovely day–we have company here, but are still picking raspberries in the garden, having a nice dinner, and enjoying chats and good wishes from the kids, who are both overseas. What an amazing world this is, to be able to communicate in real time from halfway around the planet!

      How are you, Jamie? I think of you often. You did such a great job with this month’s Bardo publication. I must email you about next month–I can send or write anything you need.

      xoxo
      n

  17. Naomi, You knocked it out of the ballpark in Seattle and parks everywhere with this one. Great and good humor. Loving. Honest. So much fun. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Richard,
      This was a fun one to put together–when I post I look through photos for just the right picture, and while I do that I remember and re-experience all those good times. Thanks so much for the sweet response. Hugs to you and all your kids and grandkids!

      1. and the same back to you. I suppose one key is to organize shoe boxes of old pic and/or know where digital files of pic are located. Hah!

      2. Now I have all my photos at my fingertips–on my laptop, which I back up on a regular basis, and I never erase photos from the film cards–I buy new ones–so I have additional backup.

  18. Your blog made me realize that there is another Daddy like Thom. My husband Rick. I just don’t have PATIENCE AND TALENT to put a blog in his honor like you did it for Thom. Thanks you for doing it. Thom represents all Special Fathers of the World!

    What would we do without fathers like our husbands? We and our kids wouldn’t have so many happy memories.

    Love,

    Dorota

    1. Dear Dorota, I love to watch Rick with your kids–he’s a very good daddy! I think we can safely say that Thom and Rick are both THE BEST! I will email you–might be time to go out for coffee with a side of catch-up.

    1. Thank goodness we clicked, because he is about the best thing that ever happened to me–aside from the kids, and I couldn’t have done that without him.
      Thanks so much for the visit, Shimon. By the way, I have read that women have the strength of endurance, which in the long run can prove more useful than the brute strength of men. I don’t know, but it is an interesting thought.

  19. What a lovely tribute, Naomi! He sounds like quite a guy. I met my husband after a rugby game but we bonded over talking about books. Almost 31 years later, we’ve discovered more shared loves, but books are always there.

    janet

    1. Dear Janet,
      It sounds like you have a lot in common, and will never run out of things to talk about! Thank you for sharing your love story. Wishing you many more happy years together!

    1. Dear Dallas, that is what I love most about your wonderful blog! Thom is always tickled when I write about him; he’s a sweet, quiet guy who tends to be more comfortable on the periphery, except as a referee on the soccer field, which is the closest he will ever come to being a god. Thanks for the visit. I always love to hear from you.

  20. An inspiring tribute to an amazing husband and dad. Beautiful story that tugs the heart and bring about positive, happy reasons to smile. Wishing your hubby an awesome, memorable Father’s Day today and always. Have a fun Summer and best of blessings to you and your family.

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