Great dads don’t get enough credit these days. Times are changing, and with it, the roles that parents take on are shifting. Still, the number of times that I have been told “oh that is so great that your husband is willing to watch the baby for you!” is absurd. It is always spoken as if you are simply the babysitter for our child, which could not be more wrong. The other day I was at the beach with my sister, and, based on some remarks that girls nearby were saying, we were pretty sure that they thought I was a single mother. My sister said to just let them think that since it made me look more empowered, but I told her that I didn’t want them to think that because it isn’t fair to you. No matter what it could make or not make me look like, I would never want people to not know how huge and wonderful of a role you have in our son’s life. You deserve all the credit in the world.
I have known you since you were sixteen years old. You were all tall and handsome, and although one of the “popular guys” in school, you had this humble sweetness to you that I should have known even then would make you an amazing father. We haven’t even been on this winding path of parenthood for a full year yet, but it has been long enough to make me more confident than ever that you are the greatest gift I could ever hope to have. Watching you with our baby boy as he learns to sit, and crawl, and talk, and eat… Has made me fall more in love with you every single day. He is so incredibly lucky to have you as a dad, but moreover, I am the most fortunate woman in the world to have you as the father of my child! The hustle and bustle of day to day life can sweep people up too easily sometimes, and so I want to take the time now to make sure that you understand just how much each of the smallest actions you do are appreciated by not only your son, but me.
From the very beginning, you were there every step of the way. Throughout the entire pregnancy, you made it a necessity to be able to join me at every doctor’s appointment, no matter how seemingly insignificant. When I got leg cramps in the middle of the night or had to pee for the millionth time, you were up right beside me either to rub my calves until I fell back asleep or help hoist me out of bed. When I became a hormonal mess more often than I like to admit, you didn’t get angry or annoyed but instead talked me through whatever was on my mind, and somehow always knew just what to say. This in itself is huge, because frankly I was a bit mean towards the end, let’s be honest. When I finally went into labor, even though it was at 11 pm and you had been working all day before that, you did such a good job trying to stay awake with me and doing whatever you could to help me get through each contraction before we met the love of our lives. The excitement and tears in your eyes once you cut that cord and held him in your arms is something I will never forget. I could see something visibly shift inside of you. You were a natural from the start.
You were an amazing father in my eyes even before our little guy was born, but let me just tell you that since he was born has been the most beautiful thing in the universe to witness. Getting through the newborn phase wasn’t me up all night with him while you slept, as so many people make it seem like when breastfeeding is able to be accomplished. No, that was never the case at all. We are and always will be in this together. When I was contracting down in those first few nights, you were there massaging my legs and stomach as he nursed. Since I was in the middle of the semester in school, on more than one occasion you insisted on taking the baby into the living room so that I could get more sleep. You knew that it was rare for me to make and eat three full meals in those early days, so before you left for work you would get me a snack ready to go. All the effort that you put in to help me adjust to motherhood in those messy first few months is something I am so thankful for, and it makes you that much better of a dad and husband.
I know if our baby could form full sentences, he would tell you that he loves you and that you are the best dad in the world. He would thank you for all the diaper blowouts you’ve changed, the baths that you’ve given, and the slides that you’ve slipped down together. He would giggle remembering you tickling his belly, reading stories to him over and over in funny voices, and digging holes in the sand at the beach that he could sit in.
From the fun moments like giving him a lime for the first time and all three of us laughing about it, to the not-so-fun parenting moments like the first trip to the ER, you are there. You always will be.
So, to my husband, thank you. You are a better daddy than you could ever know. I wish the world was full of more people just like you, and it makes me so excited to think that, with your help, our son will be. Happy First Father’s Day!
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