- I'm not a dad, and we all know my sun rises and sets on me.
- I'm way too busy talking about other [increasingly random] things.
- I'm trying to pretend it's not just a couple of days away because I (still) don't know what to do for a present to show my gratitude to the most amazing father I know - the father of my children.
- It is impossible to buy gifts for the father of my children, so I procrastinate about it for as long as is humanly possible. (I think I'm doing pretty well. See, I'm good at some things!)
Unlike myself, who never knew what kind of mother I would be or even if I truly wanted to have kids, Sam was destined to be a father. He was the one with all of the babysitting jobs growing up, while I preferred to make a couple of dollars cleaning houses. There was no kid-watching challenge he couldn't handle. When we were dating, he would tell me about his experiences with all of the children he'd cared for, and I was in awe.
"You watched someone's six kids!? At one time!?"
"You helped potty-train a child that wasn't even your own!?"
"You kept other people's kids overnight?!"
I would watch him interact with kids, and it made me fall in love with him even more. And, to be honest, it also made me a little bit jealous. He just had "it". And by "it", I mean the trait that enabled him to be a natural around kids. (I surely did not have "it".) They liked him. They flocked to him. Even more impressively, they listened to him.
When it came time for us to welcome our first into the world, naturally, I was a nervous wreck. And just as naturally, Sam was excited, poised, and more than ready to take on the role. (If he was nervous, he sure didn't let on to anyone, myself included.)
On September 5, 2003, we met our little Benjamin. (Well, he was 8lbs 14oz, but he was still little to us!) And while it took me a while to realize that I was, in fact, a mother, Sam stepped seamlessly and with gusto into the role of "daddy" (even if we did look like we were 14 years old).
And everything I needed to know about parenting, I learned from him.
It brings tears to my eyes thinking about what an amazing father he is. And I hope that I don't ever take it for granted that he has, from day one, changed diapers, rocked colicky babies, shown me how to hold gassy babies, encouraged me throughout the trials of nursing, known the right thing to say to stop a toddler from crying, the time and place for distraction versus discipline. He has played both good cop and bad cop as the circumstances required and sometimes entirely on his own. He knows how to evoke a laugh from the grumpiest of children by knowing all of their tickle spots. He reads books with funny voices. He even remembers to give them every dose of their prescription medicine when they've got (most commonly) the recurring ear infections.
He does it all.
It has taken me a while, but I've stopped being jealous, and I've started being proud. I'm so proud of the man that I married. I am so proud of the father that he is and was always meant to be.
When we were dating he told me he would love to have a big family. Six kids, even. While I thought he was crazy then (and I still do, a little bit now), I finally understand why someone would want to surround themselves with children. They are God's most precious gift to us. And Sam figured that out years before ever having one of his own.
Despite living in a time and place where, with each passing day, the value of a father figure is becoming less and less cherished, I am blessed to be able to say that my very own better half has set an excellent example of what it means to be a husband and what it means to be more than just "a father" - what it means to be a dad.
I love you, Sam. We are all so grateful for you.
Happy Father's Day!
In closing, may we all - dads and moms - remember that our children are only little for a few blinks of the eye. I hope we all cherish these moments. It won't be like this for long.