It was a quick dig, something slightly critical about his parenting in the middle of a discussion. We were in the thick of everyday life, probably both needing a break. I was tired and annoyed but the truth is, if he had said it to me it would have been a way bigger deal. We talked it out and came to some conclusions but the next morning I woke up and wondered. I wondered if he knows how much I appreciate and respect him as a man and a father. I wondered if I don't tell him enough. I wondered if he even knows these things about himself. I have found wondering is a good invitation to act, to find out.
So I made a list and sent it to him:
I want you to know...
I love the way you match Lucy's pitch when you say goodbye to her.
I love the way you help Josiah with his math even though he tries to get you to just tell him the answer.
I love how you make sound effects when you play wrestle with Jackie on the back of his head.
I love how you constantly try to get someone to fall for the "underwear" joke.
I love how you make a joke or throw out something light just at the moment when I am about to be too hard in my discipline.
I love how you can see things that my mother heart can't or doesn't really want to see.
I love how your standard of parenting is so high, you will never reach your view of perfection and will never stop trying.
I love how you will cry in kid movies.
I love how when you go to the party supply store and walk through the favor aisle and see neon friendship bracelets, you instanly pick up six in each person's favorite color.
I love how you will play family DJ and dance with our kids in the living room, even the silly stuff.
I love how laid back you are to let all the little things go and yet have a keen intuition to know when something is really important.
I love how deeply and fully you love.
I love how we are everything to you.
I realized we need more of this, everyone needs more of this as we roll along in life. We need to know that what we do matters, that we are seen. I know I do, especially when it isn't Mother's day. So I'm wondering, right here in the middle of summer, if we can start a challenge together, the Grat-i-Dad Challenge. Let's write in the comment section one thing we love, appreciate or respect about the dads in our lives, just because or for no reason at all. It can be any dad, your dad, your partner, even just a friend. I bet our dads will love it, and we can stop wondering...together.
You can read more dad goodness here too.
The babies have always stayed close to me, really close. Jorge took them to snuggle on his chest, change a diaper, or hold in the crook off his arm but I was still their primary source of nurture and nutrition. Around the age of one, the parenting worlds start to shift and the guy who was just around making goofy smiles becomes the parent of choice.
We went apple picking last weekend and I watched it happen before me. Lyra sat in his lap eating apples and playing flirty games all day. Her back stiffens and eyes light up when he walks through the door at the end of the day. She makes her way to him with a book in tow insisting that he reads the same page over and over because she keeps turning the pages back. He is thrilled to be coming in to his time, the time when she is now a papa's girl.
Nothing is more charming than a man and his baby. And I watch all the love and chant in my mind, "No more babies, no more babies, no more babies..."