Sometimes what you'd like to hear comes out of a clear, blue sky. That happened to me yesterday.
My life as an adult I've tried hard to be a good husband and father. You sacrifice to give your family what you'd like them to have, and that has sometimes come at a cost. You're away on business when they take their first steps. You're away when they go to their first Military Ball. You do it because that's what needs doing. You do it whether anyone notices.
It seems that they do. Last night we were talking with the kids about memories from their past. I forget how it came up, but it did. #1 Son said it, casually, and out of the blue:
You're a great Dad.
You keep having to focus on what you say and how you act around your kids, because you know (in theory) that it's important what you do for your family. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you learn that it's not just theory.
I'm a lucky man.