When I was pregnant with LA Steve was a very attentive father to be. He anxiously awaited word that I was craving something and quickly delivered whatever “sounded good” to me. I actually felt bad that I didn’t crave more… he was ready to spring into action.
He is not a reader but it made me love him all the more to see him lying on the gurney reading the Baby Book for Dads as he awaited his back procedure.
Every night he would talk to my belly and play games with Zygie (as we called LA when she was “on the inside”)… in the morning he’d wake her up to say goodbye before work- shining flashlights, tapping what we figured was her bottom. She would always turn to whichever side he was on and press her hands against his mouth. (Side note- when she was born she immedately took her little hands and put them to his mouth just like she’d done before… so amazing).
In other words, he was a great, very involved dad. He even joked that I was “hogging” the baby.
We did everything as a team that we could. He even went to the breastfeeding classes with me. We read, together, the progress reports for our baby. He wanted to know all that I was going through. When she was born he was right there… I felt like I couldn’t have done it without him. He was even going to “catch” her if she hadn’t, in his words, “shot out like a torpedo.”
I am not sure how to put it into words but I felt like even though it’s a painful, messy business we women have the better end of the deal because we get to have the full experience.
I remember thinking that sometimes it must be very hard to be a dad. As involved as Steve was he could not experience all that I felt. Everything was through me. We did the best we could… he was right there every step of the way but he didn’t get to lay awake at night feeling our child turn inside. And after she was born he had to go back to work while I spent my days with her. He would always remind me to have the camera ready for first steps or words. At night he’d remind her that she should wait to do those things for when he was home.
Not sure how men would feel about that sentiment.
Some would probably vehemently disagree and some might agree, at least a bit. It’s gotta be tough to be the dad.
So this article that recently came out was great. It talks about how many fathers feel they receive mixed messages. They are encouraged to attend everything but they feel in the way. More men actually get post partum depression than women, which is fascinating. Father’s have it tough too!
No matter how much a child loves their father 9 times out of 10 a child will call for mama when they are hurt, tired or sad. While Steve was there doing everything he could LA still wanted me 75% of the time when she was under a year old. Mostly because I have the “magic boobies” (as they are called in our family) and because I was the one home with her all day. I kept thinking that must be hard for dads because they love them just as much as mama does.
I have loved seeing their relationship change as LA grows. She has to show him everything. I love watching her drag my huge husband around the house to show him her block tower. I love even more watching them build something on the floor or seeing him help her color. She loves her Daddy. He is the first person she looks for in the morning and when he’s already gone to work she walks around looking for him, as if he’s hiding.
When I was pregnant I gave a little talk to the health class at the high school where I taught. In one of the classes I said something like, “When my husband and I found out we were pregnant..” about that time some punk boy snickered and said something like, “Like He’s pregnant too.”
Usually when people say something stupid like that I’m pretty quick with a snarky comment. In this case words left me, I will blame pregnant brain. What I wish I had said to him was:
Yes… when WE found out we were pregnant. We… as in both of us. Because while only I am carrying the child we are both going to be parents. Because he is a real man and intends to be a real father his life will change too when this baby arrives. And because he is a good man he is just as involved in the preparation for this baby’s arrival. If you grow up to have half of his integrity someday you will understand that any man can make a baby but it takes a true, quality man to become a father. So yes, WE found out that we were pregnant.
Sometimes the kid gets called a punka– in the little speech in my head, but that wouldn’t have happened in real life.
Being a dad is a tough job. And many of the fathers in our generation have taken on even more. They are committed to helping in the house and being a more involved parent than many dads of yesterday. They are staying home and raising children, either while mama works or on their own. They are setting aside their dignity and being silly with their children. They are working so hard … and sometimes I think Dad’s get a bit overlooked because Mama is just so glamorous 😉
So this weekend celebrate all the good dads. All the daddies who dance and sing silly songs with their daughters. The dads who build castles and racetracks on the floor. The dads who lead their sons into being quality fathers themselves someday. The dads who show their daughter what they should expect someday from their own husbands.
I know in our house we will be doing all we can to make our special daddy know how very loved he is.
I think this is my all time favorite photo of him with her. The look on his face makes me fall in love with him all over again every time.
And, by the way, this commercial makes me both laugh and tear up every time. I look forward to the day I see Steve dancing with LA like this… but I promise not to post the video 🙂