Before we are parents, we have our opinions and memories about our father, our dad. Some are positive while others are painful reminders of the kind of relationship we wish we had with our own. But when we bring a life into the world with someone we call dad to our own kids, this is when it counts.
Before I was a mom, I was told the most romantic and intimate experience I could share with someone is to have a child together. Matt, I’ve been blessed to share this with you.
The other day I asked Ava what she loved most about her daddy. With Father’s Day approaching, I thought I would try to extract her perspective. Ava shares, “I just love him. It’s too hard, um…” I reply, “Ava, what is most fun about daddy?” (Thinking this might translate better). Ava: “Cereal…when I play with him…when he plays with me…workin’ hard outside." I’m amazed at how quickly she clarified the difference between when I play with him and when he plays with me. At 3, she already knows the difference.
Cereal? At first I couldn’t figure out what cereal had to do with anything. Then it made sense, the small daily commitments you make to Ava is what she loves and what she remembers. Every morning you share together, alone, just the two of you. This is where cereal comes in, it’s part of her every morning routine consistently beginning with her daddy.
Each morning Ava wakes (I’m usually gone working out, one of my obsessions in which you deserve serious points for supporting) she schleps down the hall and crawls into bed with you and it’s there the two of you share your quiet moment together. When you don’t both fall back to sleep, Ava is your alarm clock. This precious routine is exclusive to the two of you (I’ve tried and she won’t do it for me).
Every mother remembers the age their kids quit snuggling up to them for a good cuddle unless they are tired, hurt or sick. It wasn’t very long ago when I started to see my own snuggle moments fade; they are few and far between these days. This kind of snuggle is in a league of its own. It’s the quiet moments where our kids are taking care of us, I will cherish each one.
After you both get moving, I’m usually arriving back home and we swing right into the, oh so responsible task of starting our day. Ah, this is what Ava meant by cereal. You two typically part ways for the day with a bowl of cereal while you are getting ready for work.
Selfishly, I asked myself if Ava would say the same about me. If what was most fun about mommy is when I played with her…ugh, little mommy guilt moment, I wasn’t feeling too confident about her answer. In this moment, I was thankful for you and your own relationship with Ava. I’m familiar with how life doesn’t always give every child a dad in every moment they need him. I am grateful for being married and in love with a man who can also be a dad. We don’t always get both.
Ava will also have memories of the time you two spend together outside. This is a place Ava and I don’t spend much time together. Matt, I learn from you. What she expects from me tells me what you do for her, how you so patiently allow her to work alongside of you. There are so many times it would be easier to rush through a task and just do it yourself but you allow her to take part, for her to leave her impression. She is so proud of what you two accomplish together.
Matt, I’m grateful for you. Before we know it the day will come when Ava will choose a husband, create her own family. In you, I’m comforted in knowing she will learn what she needs and most importantly, what she deserves.