Thankful on Father's Day and Every Day
Once upon a time I never thought I’d have kids. No, I mean really never saw myself as anyone’s mom. I dreamed instead of being the doting “Aunt Nikki” which I totally am but the word mom? Not in my vocabulary.
Then this crazy thing happened; I fell in love with this broody bad boy type (with a really melty center, kind of like a chocolate bar with caramel in the middle only better for your figure).
And he changed all of that I don’t want to be a mom talk I had going on inside of me. We talked baby names and number of kids before there was even a relationship serious enough to warrant baby making talk. But oddly enough I could see mini versions (déjà vu maybe?) of him running around the house.
The thing is, in all that dreamy, baby making fantasy talk that we had there was no way we could foresee what would come at us: five weeks of bedrest for one baby, gestational diabetes and a scary delivery for another, a year of crying and colic with baby number three and then the words I feared the doctor would say, “this should be the last baby” with baby number four.
And yet this dark, broody, private man (just barely a man when life grabbed us), took it all on in stride. He fretted over the bills, forced me to eat my vegetables when I wanted chocolate with every pregnancy, danced in the elevator holding the sonogram image of son number one and then later filled a shopping cart with hot wheels in anticipation. He worked two jobs for almost the first ten years of our marriage, held strong when we thought our son would come too early or be born with life threatening birth defects, coached me through four deliveries, and was strong when I couldn’t be.
When he says the words, “your mother and I”, to our children I seriously get all weak in the knees thinking about how blessed I am.
I often think that dads get the short end of the deal; when a woman is pregnant we have nine months to plan and become used to the idea of becoming a mom. We read books, we feel a tiny life grow almost immediately from the start, from the first onset of hiccups in our bellies to rolling kicks and a disappearing waistline, we are ever reminded that our lives are going to change. We are someone’s mom before we even meet the ones we shelter and nourish in our bodies.
Men don’t get that luxury to know their baby before he or she makes their entrance into the world and yet by and large they take on the role of father in what can feel like the blink of an eye often without preparation or planning.
Maybe I see things that way because I’ve been blessed with wonderful, standup men in my life – always present and ready to take on what life throws at them. Or maybe I just knew a good thing when I found it and knew better than to let go of the man who I could see a future with, complete with the children I didn’t expect.
Either way, as my husband and father to my children leaves for work on Father’s Day (Nope. There is no day off for him this year.), I’m remembering to say thank you. He has put up with my bouts of crazy over the last 15 years and offered an ear when I needed it. He’s been my extra hands when the kids have outnumbered me and my clarity when I felt lost. And not once has he ever backed down or retreated when our world got tough. The kids don’t realize yet just how lucky they are, but I do and for that I am thankful for my husband every day that we navigate this parent thing together. I try not to get all sentimental but I really can't imagine choosing anyone else to parent this brood with.
To all the seasoned fathers and the new fathers who give their all every day, I say thank you for having our backs and keeping us sane.