Sunday, June 18, 2017

A tribute to their Dad

Happiest of Father's Days to the guy on the left, my kids' amazing Dad. 

When we took the plunge into to parenthood, I had no idea what it would look like for my husband to step into his new role as "Dad." 

But let me tell you, he is ROCKING it. The photo above was taken mere moments after he became a father. Just look at his sweet grin as he gazes at our eldest! He is so proud of her and it shows. What has surprised me most about his fatherhood journey has been how naturally everything comes to him. Prior to starting a family, I never really saw Graham around kids, let alone babies, but it wasn't long before I began referring to him as the "baby whisperer." The ease with which he has taken each of our children (and others' children) into his arms leaves me in awe every time.

He is calm and fearless and very little fazes him. These are awesome qualities to have in a father. He approaches life with ease; my how fiercely he loves his brood! When our second born was terrifyingly ill and re-hospitalized as a newborn, he was both a rock and a safe place, tenderly loving and deeply bonded with his sick infant daughter. It was a moving moment for a mother to witness. Graham isn't afraid to show emotion and I am proud that our kids will get to learn from him how experience and show emotion with confidence. What a gift!

I told Graham many-a-times in those first few years of raising girls that he was made to be a daddy to daughters. But now I know he's absolutely made for parenting a boy as well. Just look at the way he is beaming (above) when he held our newborn son for the very first time (above). I can't even. He's smitten.

Graham is the best partner to have at my side. During the infant years, he was always the more patient one when it came to getting a baby to sleep. When I had done and had it, he would step in and send me to bed, replacing my frustrated exhaustion with a fresh willingness to rock and bounce and rock some more. Whether it was sleep-training or binky-eliminating or some other insanity-inducing parenting tactic we were taking on, Graham always formed his stance confidently. Still to this day, he stands unaffected by what those around us our doing; he does what he believes is best for our family of five. 

If you were to ask the kids some of their favorite things about their dad, I'm sure the following would make the list:

-how he tells amazing stories about "Long John Sliver"
-how he plays the "Speckled Frogs" song on the piano while they jump of the living room furniture, er, I mean lilypads
-how he snuggles them
-how he writes songs about tractors and combines that now the whole family knows
-how he takes them on zoo adventures
-how he makes them "flat pancakes" and lets them eat Nutella with reckless abandon
-how he helps them with the hard math problems on their homework
-how he takes them swimming and stand-up paddleboarding

There are days where it feels as though he and I are just plain missing each other on the parenting front. Our desired approaches can be so different that at times it is hard to imagine it's the same thing we want. In our exhaustion, we can cut and tear down the ways of the other. We can argue and disagree and debate over how to train and raise up and parent these souls who have been entrusted to our care. It is easy to get lost in the fog of busyness or get sink ourselves in the harmful trench of the "It's my way or the highway" kind of attitude. 

Yet when I pause and step back, I am always reminded it is the very best for our kids that we are both after. The picture of "very best" that I have formulated in my mind might look different than the one he sees. But it is this same goal we are after. WE ARE ON THE SAME TEAM! We are fighting together against disconnection and disorder and hurt and pain, and fighting together for connection and order and joy and love. This, my friends is a very, very good thing. And there is no other man I would want raising my beautiful brood of three.

I've heard it said before, "The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother."
I absolutely could not agree more. And Graham nails it with this one.

In front of our children, he compliments me, woos me, touches me, prioritizes me, dates me and affirms me. It is one of the most beautiful things in the world to be loved by a man and have your kids stand witness to it. In a culture that prioritizes parenting over marriage, kids activities over date night, it's no wonder we struggle with disconnection and a lack of intimacy.

So to all you dads out there, I leave you with this, your Father's Day charge: Love your wife. Tell her not just that you love her but also that you cherish her, that you adore her. Pay attention to details, to the intricacies of her day-to-day. Date her, prioritize her and see her. This is your challenge.

And to all you mama readers out there, you get a Father's Day charge as well: Honor your husband and sing his praises. Set the housework aside for a moment and focus on him. You may feel tired and exhausted and so totally done, but dig deep for a minute or two to hold him and tell him all the reasons you think he is an amazing dad. Remember that he is on your team. Notice the ways he is supporting you. 

Happy Father's Day to all you amazing Dads out there. You play such a special, formative role in equipping the next generation and so many little eyes are watching you and following your lead.

And a special shout out and HAPPY FATHER'S DAY goes to my main man and the love of my life! THANK YOU for being on my team. I would have it no other way. 

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posted by kelsie