Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Different Father's Day Perspective

Today was my favorite Father's Day ever, because it was the first Father's Day I spent as a wife and mother, and it caused me to pause and look at my husband and 11-month-old daughter together and really cherish what I see between them.

I always knew E would be a really good father. I saw it back when we were first dating, in the way he related to his nieces and nephew, treating each one as though he or she was truly special, and going out of his way to connect with each one.

The day Baby Girl was born, I watched as E fell head over heels in love with her. She was so tiny in his hands, but he was both confident and capable as well incredibly gentle. It was as though he'd been waiting his whole life for that moment - the moment his daughter was delivered into his waiting arms. As for her, she was comfortable from the very first moment, snuggling up to him like there was no place she'd rather be than tucked into the crook of his shoulder.

This first year of Baby Girl's life has been a unique, special time. Because he's in graduate school and I'm working to support us, E has had the opportunity to be home with her every day. In some ways, it's been a stretch for him - it's the first time since he was 15 that he hasn't held a steady job. He's faced more spit-up, mashed bananas and dirty diapers than he ever imagined. But he hasn't missed a single milestone from her first word to her first step - he's been right there for every single one. A year from now, he'll have a Masters degree and hopefully a new job to go with it, and this precious season will be over. If we have another child, it's highly unlikely he'll get the same opportunity.

Today, I found myself celebrating the special bond that has formed between my husband and our precious girl because of the endless hours they spend together, and looking forward to watching the relationship between them develop as she grows up, which I know will nurture her in important ways. I'm betting she'll learn some practical things that aren't very girly, like firearm safety and basic auto maintenance. She'll also be taught that hard work is rewarding, and that it's important to pursue your dreams and not give up on them when the going gets tough. He'll make sure she has an understanding of what's going on in the world around her, within as well as beyond U.S. borders. And hopefully when she's all grown up and someone asks her who has influenced her faith in God, one of the people she names will be her dad.

We celebrated all these hopes and expectations with a picnic at the park. We ate fried chicken, pasta salad, deviled eggs and strawberry shortcake, and then romped with Baby Girl on the playground. She was all smiles, and so was her daddy.

I couldn't ask for more for either of them.