I struggled for hours, nay, days, on how to write this post. My own father is a manic-depressive alcoholic who is in denial about the alcoholism and who has talked openly of suicide for the 22 years since my mother died. Heavy crap that brings up feelings of insecurity, of feeling unsafe, of pain and suffering. I finally decided I just couldn't write about him during the blog exchange because there are just too many issues there to contain in just one post.
So, I'll write about my husband. My husband who, while not the best husband in the world and certainly not a very good one lately for a variety of factors, is a great Dad to our kids.
Fatherhood was a surprise to BigDaddyFish. We were told that we wouldn't be able to conceive without medical intervention, and when I became pregnant with Trout to say we were shocked would be the understatement of the century. But when that little girl got here, BDF took to fatherhood like the proverbial fish to water. He changed her first diaper aside from the nurses. He supported my efforts to breastfeed her so much that he took the breastfeeding class with me before she was born. We were at the pediatrician's office one day when Trout was less than 3 months old, and BDF was holding her in his arms and doing the parent sway, back and forth, back and forth, and the pediatrician looked at him and said “So, do you like her?” It was funny because BDF's whole aura demonstrated just how much that little girl had captured her daddy's heart.
Things are no different now that we have four kids, in that regard, anyway. Sure, they're much more chaotic and more stressful, and we get less sleep than ever, but few things make me feel more tender to my husband than when he lays in the bed with all four kids all snuggled up to him, just lovin' on each other. He does all kinds of special things with them – takes them camping, to the airport to watch the planes take off and land, to the railroad tracks, even a one-on-one trip to New York with Trout. He helped them plant a small garden in a barrel on our deck, and in our search for a new house his highest priority is to have enough land to have a good garden, so he can teach the kids about raising their own food. He has taken all the kids on their first dental visits. He always, always makes time to ensure that each child gets to spend time with him individually.
And when they're hurt? He will run to them faster than me sometimes and scoop them up, cradling them to him and helping to calm them down so he can check them out. He carefully examines bumps, bruises, scrapes, scratches, poked eyes, crushed toes. He agonizes when they get sick. When Trout was three months old and got bronchiolitis, he stayed up with me, staring at her little chest, making sure she didn't quit breathing on us, for days. Once she was better and I was trying to transition her to a crib in her own room instead of sleeping with us, I had her all put to bed in the crib, sound asleep, and he went and got her and brought her into our bed again because he couldn't bear to have her so far away from him. When Little Man was born with immature lungs and we thought he wouldn't make it, I thought it was going to kill BDF, but every time I voiced my concern that the baby wouldn't make it, BDF was resolute that he would pull through (and of course he did). When I feel asleep nursing and dropped Nemo on his head, BDF was at the baby's side almost as fast as I was, and I was standing a foot away.
My husband would do anything for his kids. He works at a job that he hates right now because of the kids. He gives them time and attention and support and love and everything else they need. And because of that, my kids feel safe, and secure, and content, a far cry different than my experience growing up. I couldn't ask for more than that.
This post is a part of the June Blog Exchange about Dads/Fathers. FishyGirl is 30-something SAHM of four kids under the age of eight. She is a lousy housekeeper, a voracious reader, and she dabbles in art and music in various forms. She blogs to maintain her writing skills and her sanity at http://fishygirl.typepad.com, where you can find Lara's post pertaining to fathers.