Sunday, June 21, 2009
Because We Didn't Get Him That "World's Best Dad" Mug. AGAIN.
I have this husband, and my kids have this father, and the three of us would like to take this holiday weekend to talk about him a little. Forgive our sentimentality: he makes us weepy.
Nearly every Saturday morning, he gets up with the kids and makes waffles or pancakes from scratch and scrambled eggs and warm blueberry syrup. He chats with them and does the dishes and then they watch old cartoons, and all the while I sleep for an extra hour or two. When I wake up, he's usually made French-press coffee, just the way I like it with a dash of half-and-half. He knows that this little ritual--some extra sleep, a break, a bit of time away from caring for the kids so I can be a better mother all week--means the world to me, but he never rubs it in.
Every day after work, he takes the children into the basement for an hour or two while I make dinner. He devises bizarre games--Bear Fight, Pirate Hunt, This Man Has A Binky, Toothbrush Race--and he plays the games again and again, matching their enthusiasm, making them scream. He puts on records and they do interpretive dances to classical music, robot dances to the Beastie Boys. They wrastle. As I chop onions upstairs, I listen to squeals and shouts and roars and the music throbs through the old hardwood floor, and I am sure that everything is right with the world. When they all come up to eat, they are pink and damp and exhausted, just like children (and husbands) should be before dinner.
On weekends, he is with them in the yard, imparting a love and appreciation for the things that fly and crawl and slither. Together, they wonder at the marking on a fat brown moth, or exclaim over the length of a slick nightcrawler, or cradle a tiny speckled frog in their palms. He teaches them to be gentle, gentle, GENTLE, and take care of things that are smaller, while their squeamish, nervous mother stands on the other side of a screen and says Oh! Isn't that nice! He is teaching them courage and compassion and stewardship, and doing a better job of it than I ever could.
He bathes them. He brushes teeth and combs hair. He tells bedtime stories, with a dozen voices and hands and theatrics. He tucks in. He tucks back in. He soothes them in the night when monsters come to call. He is their protector, their rock, their sure bet. He loves them ferociously, expressively, joyfully. He cares for them, and can provide their care, and he makes it look easy. He can Do It All.
He is, in short, A Good Egg. A Great Egg. A Tasty Organic, Free-Range Egg With Omega-3 On Sale With A Coupon.
I've heard people talk about growing apart after having children, or feeling jealous for the attention of their spouse, frustrated with less wife or husband to go around. But, in my experience, our children are exactly the thing that entwined us forever, that mixed us and cemented this union. These children were born to us, and then we were born unto each other, new and changed and whole for the first time. We are not perfect, far from it, but together have forged a little bit of perfection in a broken world.
In short: I have never loved him better than when he became a father, and I have never known a better father.
Happy Father's Day, Byron. We love you.*
*(But still hate beards. And camping. And kippered snacks, GAWD, the kippered snacks.)