I have spent the last two years processing my own dad’s death. Publicly and privately. Fatherhood has been constantly on my mind.
His birthday was always around (and even some years ON) Father’s Day and so the day has always seemed custom made for him.
But for this fathers day I will mark the event with a tribute to the dad I live with.
My husband is one of most amazing, devoted, competent, outstanding examples of fatherhood that I have ever witnessed. He outshines my own father in many respects and I know my dad would not hesitate to agree with me (in fact I think may have been his assertion to start with) as would anyone who knows the history of my husband’s fatherhood.
Not many men know how to deal with small babies. Most (including my own) are not comfterable with care taking their young till they can walk and talk.
This is not the case with my love. He can intuit the wants of an infant with ease. Just like he knows just what the garden needs to thrive.
After his ex unexpectedly moved the boys to the other side of the continent, he would fly out every month or two for a week or more. Trying desperately to maintain the bond that their mother seemed so bent on breaking.
During those trips cross country he would live out of a hotel and try to parent an infant and toddler at fairs, parks, and places where he had no resources other than himself. A few times his sister would come along and help with an extra set of hands but often he was on his own, far from home.
He has always been so sure what matters most- they FEEL loved and protected by him. That their father did not become another face in the crowd or some sort of glorified Uncle.
By some miracle his youngest took his first steps with him on one such trip. He said his first words a few months later, again with his dad. Almost like he was waiting for their time together.
Both of his sons’ first words were “dada.”
This cross-country parenting continued for a year until we could scrape together what we needed to move.
That we might have a chance to be a family in a home of our own.
He treats his sons with the respect that not many parents truly comprehend. They are not little dolls or clones.
They are- and will continue to become, their own people. It is his job to give them the tools to make sense of the world as it is. Not to construct some bubble free of responsibility and consequence.
He is a giver of passion and teacher of things he loves. Ever-watchful and supportive, making sure they understand each step that goes into any given process.
He is infinitely patient and only raises his voice to them when they are in eminent danger of injury. When their attention is immediately necessary to avoid bodily harm. It gets their attention because they have not grown used to it.
He listens, asks questions. He loves to hear what they feel- free of any expectation for what they might think he wants to hear.
He has shown them how a man should live and act even when faced with difficult choices and failure. He puts his family first in a way that is so seldom seen, in this world of single mothers who’s ex’s can’t be bothered to cross town regularly.
He is a man who had literally gone to the ends of the earth and back (over and over again) to make sure his kids know him and feel connected to him.
That they can count on him no matter how the swell rolls in.
Even when things are unfair and unjust; he is patient.
He know what matters most- the time he has with them and he does whatever it takes to make that happen.
I am beyond blessed to have such a man for a husband but those boys have been given a gift they will not fully appreciate till they are men themselves.
Then they will realize that they were witness to one of the best examples of how a man should deal with life, its inequalities and their own short comings.
When that day comes I know they will have no problem telling him in their own words what his fatherhood has given them. A lifetime of love and one of the truest understandings of the self-sacrifice it takes to be a parent.
When I ask the boys (currently deep cleaning their room) what they want to tell him on this day they say:
“I love you!”
“You are the best dad ever!”
“You do so much stuff for us that we love!”
“You are awesome!!!!!!”
Obviously I feel the same, I love you honey!
Happy Father’s Day! You are doing a great job!
Thank you. You don’t hear it as much as you should.