Fathers Day. A day when I celebrate them, without them. My Grandpa, Mayor John Baker died when I was 7, my Dad, Michael Baker passed away 2 months before my first son arrived in 2003, and my Grampa Ken Smith left us 9 years ago. As my children head to their father’s house today, I turn my attention to Jason.

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Jason joined me and my boys in 2013. A time of change for me. A job that had me stuck in a windowless room crunching numbers, surrounded by men, noise and sawdust. Having given up my perfect house on the lake to keep peace for my children, I was driven to start my own business surrounded by the animals that defined me and leave the vicious mill environment. These changes were very hard on the children who acted out with disrespect, anger and contempt.

Jason’s appropriate role in the beginning was as an observer, then as my protector. He was very clear with the boys that he was not their friend. Over the years he has gracefully and seamlessly become their “father”. His strong role model for hard work and dedication is second to none. His high expectations cause friction and lessons that are as hard on the children and me as they are on him.

He sees Joey’s love of speed and encourages safe play with close supervision on dangerous machines. He supports Joey’s talent in the hockey net by sitting on hard, cold seats surrounded by this towns social gathering chitter. He sits as a chaperone at school dances swarming with teenage girls giggling and twirling.

Jason has sat as an observer as Michael has become overwhelmed with highschool. He works hard to teach Michael self-confidence and respect for his elders. He role models the proper way to treat women using old school methods of opening the door for me, complimenting me when I don’t deserve it and showing appreciation for my efforts vs. my outcome.

His dedication to Peytanne runs so deep that she literally glows. Her talent in gymnastics is who she is and he supports this above and beyond his requirements. His obsessive compulsions compliment hers perfectly and the nightly routine of facetime has them both imagining new ways to open the conversation. His insistence, against all, of a phone she can text on has taught her essential writing skills.

He is not their friend. He is their father. He supports when it is not convenient, teaches when it is not comfortable, role models when he is exhausted and allows the children to fall while picking them up before they hit the ground. He is honest, clear and patient. He doesn’t look for praise, doesn’t boast, doesn’t dramatise, doesn’t complain. He is our protector, our advisor and our strength. He has an amazing ability to live in the moment and cherish each day for the good things in it. For all these things, I thank Jason.