Continuing our feature of some of the dads behind Birmingham Moms Blog, Jennifer W. shares the sweetness of watching her husband become a father.
Watching your husband become a father is a powerful thing. Especially if he went by the name “Freak Daddy” in college. (I didn’t know him then, by the way.)
My husband and I approached parenthood pretty casually. We didn’t have a plan. We figured if it was meant to happen, it would.
Still, I wasn’t sure how he would react to the positive pregnancy test a little over three years into our marriage.
Now, my husband isn’t normally one to show a ton of emotion. So when I saw tears spilling over that day when he looked up from the Clearblue stick that flashed the word “Pregnant,” it became obvious how much this man wanted to be a father.
He impressed me throughout my pregnancy. He was attentive, supportive, and excited. We talked about names all the time. We did the silly old-wives-tale activities to determine if it was a boy or a girl. We had a celebratory lunch followed by a walk in the park near where we got married the afternoon after finding out we were having a little girl.
We were scared, sure. At least, I was. I’m sure he was too, but he certainly never showed it.
On the day of her birth, he was as cool and calm as I’d ever seen him. He held my hands and whispered encouragement during the epidural, he played music on his Bluetooth speaker, he refilled my water cup, he smiled at me and said how well I was doing.
He even cut the umbilical cord, which shocked me to my core since he’s always been open about his aversion to blood.
Our baby girl was perfect. I looked up at him, through my own tears, and he smiled through tears of his own.
He put up with a lot over the coming weeks. I was a ticking time bomb, thanks to my hormones, and would start bawling over the smallest things, including when I thought the dog looked at me the wrong way. We struggled getting our daughter to sleep anywhere but on one of our chests. He called the nurse, the lactation consultant, the pediatrician, and even my own doctor several times during that first month, since I couldn’t get the words out to talk to any of those people on my own.
One afternoon, he walked into the nursery where I was rocking the baby. He handed me my coat and the dog’s leash, and ordered me to take a break, get some fresh air, and walk the dog. I hadn’t slept more than an hour or two over the past 36 hours, and my brain was mush. I did as he said, and amazingly enough, I felt much better after my 15-minute jaunt.
It became clear that he knew what I needed before I figured it out myself. And even though he didn’t have much experience with diaper changing and bottle feeding, he jumped right in with both feet and was right next to me every step of the way. In those early days, we navigated those stormy waters together.
Over the next few months, I watched the bond form between father and daughter. They both grinned ear-to-ear when he would get home from work. There was a twinkle in her eye when he was there.
He read to her every night. He helped me bathe her. He sang to her, mostly his silly, made-up songs. He danced with her. He made her laugh.
And her first word was unmistakably “Dada.”
They’ve become even more tight-knit since she became a toddler. She’s almost two-and-a-half now, and one of her favorite things to do is go to the golf course with Daddy. He’s a college golf coach, and sometimes, he’ll take her and her adorable little golf clubs to the driving range while his team is practicing. She loves it. And he does, too.
Now, we have another little girl, who is just shy of 10 months. His bond with our second baby is different, but it’s hard to miss. One of my favorite sights is to walk in the room when he has both of them on his lap, singing, laughing, hugging. My heart is so full because I know how lucky I am to have a husband who wants to be with them. He travels quite a bit for work, and we FaceTime every night he’s gone so he can see his babies. During these calls, the smiles are big. I love hearing our oldest tell him about her day.
Sometimes, I try to picture what it’s going to be like when they’re older. He won’t be the parent at the back door with a shotgun when they start dating (actually, that will most likely be me). I don’t see him as the dad who will put any kind of pressure on them to be anything other than what they want to be. Instead, I see him as an encourager, no matter what paths they may choose. Although, I know he hopes they both take up golf.
From learning to walk, learning to talk, going through potty training, teaching to share, hitting golf balls, going to the playground, learning to swim … he’s there. He’s part of it all. How lucky I am to see such joy in my daughters’ little faces, each and every time Daddy walks in the door.
It’s true, a man changes when he becomes a father. And while my significant other may not go by “Freak Daddy” anymore (thank the sweet Lord), his fun-loving, laid-back personality hasn’t wavered, even in the ugly throes of parenting.
I love you, Dear. You’re really nailing this fatherhood thing, and for that, I couldn’t be more grateful.
Happy Father’s Day.