To the father of my children and my chief partner in the parenting trenches,
Today, in the car, our son told me how much he looks forward to you coming home from work.
When I asked him why, thinking it might be the ultra cool tech you sometimes bring home to play with, he explained that he just “really loves you” and that you give “excellent hugs”.
It’s these moments that you don’t usually get to see. The conversations and car chatter, the kindy drawings and words from our children’s teachers. They paint the picture of how our children feel about you, their father. And they’re often lost in the busyness of the rest of life.
What we see
At the dinner table, after a long day, I might not remember to tell you how your youngest daughter sees a photo of you on my phone and immediately reaches out to touch the screen. “Dada! DADA,” she says, a massive, toothy grin stretching across her Vegemite smeared chops. Or that your oldest daughter explains very seriously on the way home from pre-school why HER dad is better than all the other dads in the entire world.
I think sometimes, it may be hard for you to see what we see. The snippets of time you spend with us during the week are just that; snippets. The early morning pre-work and school rush and the post school chaos is when you’re home, and, let’s face it, none of us are at our best then.
This is what I want you to know about your life being dad. As your son’s first role model of what a ‘good’ man looks like, and our two daughters’ first example of how a woman should be treated.
To the father of my children: THIS is what I want you to know
1. You are so much more than your business card.
Yes, you may be awesome at your job being dad. As the chief provider for our family, we are always proud of your success in your chosen field. But that title? Yeah, it’s one dimensional. To us, you are SO many things; soccer coach, swimming teacher, lifeguard, tea party attendee, Lego builder, bottom wiper, training wheel remover, night terror chaser, middle of the night soother. It’s a pretty hefty job description, this being a father business, and you nail it.
2. You will never see yourself how our kids see you
Because you can’t. You see where you’ve misstepped, what you’ve done ‘wrong’ as a dad. What you don’t always see is all the millions of things you do right. To your children, you are amazing. tireless, unstoppable. As handy with a Play Station controller as you are with a spanner or a soccer ball. Yes, they sometimes refer to you as ‘cranky daddy’, but meh, kids say some cray cray things at times. Don’t take it personally.
3. You’re the best example we could wish for
Our son will learn from you. And not just how to ‘be a man’, but how to be a good man. Most importantly, he’ll see what it means to truly love and respect a woman. He’ll know what love is (and what it isn’t). Our daughters will see, first hand, how they should be treated; with respect and as equals. The love you have for me, the respect you have for my role as a mother, and gentle way that you speak to us all, will set the wheels in motion for how our kids love for the rest of their lives. And honestly? There is no greater gift you can give them than that.
4. You make parenting do-able
Hats off to single parents the world over. Because this shit is HARD. And having you being dad as back up? Well, it makes the most important job I’ll ever do, do-able. It may not always be your physical presence but having you at the other end of the text messages and phone calls and knowing that you’ve got our back ALWAYS, makes the hardest days survivable. And yeah, when you walk through that door at 5.30pm when we’ve had one of THOSE days, you’re my favourite person to have ever walked the earth (you’d beat Jon Snow in a throw down).
5. You pick up the slack
We all have our strengths and weaknesses as parents. While I may kill it teaching our kids to surf, the last time I tried to draw a dog, it looked like a slightly deformed panda. Safe to say, art and craft is not my strong point. Luckily, you’re there to pick up the slack. And having two different skill sets makes #parenthood that little bit easier. The same goes for the way you relate to our kids. We each have our own approach and it’s the meshing of the two that helps us muddle through and make sense of raising three kids.
6. We just really, really love you
Like our son said in the car, we just really, really love you. We might not say it enough. It may be replaced with questions about bin night and texts asking you to pick up olive oil and nappies, but at the core, you’re our everything. We adore you and can’t imagine our family without you in it. Thanks for being the best man I’ve ever met and the best father to our children I could ever ask for.
Happy Father’s Day.
About to become a daddy? Check out this hilarious animation of first time fatherhood