Yesterday was Father’s Day. Despite the Hallmark commercial nature of the occasion, it was an opportunity for me to reflect. To appreciate and recognise you as my partner in parenting. To acknowledge your contribution and take time to make the father of my children feel special.
Because you are. You’re a rare breed of responsible man. You didn’t have to be. We’d only been dating for two months when I discovered I was pregnant. You didn’t have to stick with me, you didn’t have to make a life with me. But you did. You gave up chasing your dream career and took a stable job as a tradesman, to provide for your family.
By the time our son was born, we’d only been dating for a year and we’d just moved in together. Eight years after we first met we’ve now bought a house together, got married and had another kid. It hasn’t been easy, but that’s life. We’ve been together and we’ve stuck it out and that’s what counts.
In moments of self-doubt, when we’re arguing, you often tell me that you’re afraid that our children will grow up to be just like you. That I should take the kids and just leave. That we’re better off without you. But we’re really not. In fact, if my sons turn out to be even half the man their father is, I’ll be proud.
If our sons turn out to be like you, I know they’ll be generous. Because you are. You’re always thinking of everyone else, before yourself. You never miss an opportunity to spoil someone, and you’re always wanting to pop in at the toy store to find something that the boys will like. You do small things to show me you’re always thinking of me. Like collecting all of the My Little Pony McDonald’s Happy Meal toys for me, because you know I loved MLP when I was a kid.
If our sons turn out to be like you, I know they’ll be courageous. Because you are. You’re not afraid to stand up for yourself, you’re never one to keep your mouth shut. You make your feelings and opinions known, even when those opinions piss everyone else off.
If our sons turn out to be like you, I know they’ll be loyal. Because you are. I’ve never seen so much loyalty in one person before. My trust in you is unwavering, because you’ve never given me reason to doubt you. You’re always there for me when I need you. You always stick up for your friends and family, no matter what it takes. Even if I’m in the wrong, you’ll back me up and fight tooth and nail to defend me, because I’m yours.
If our sons turn out to be like you, I know they’ll be caring and considerate. Because you are. Everything you do, is done with your family in mind. You’re loving and sensitive. You feel things deeply and you’re connected to your children in ways that I’m not. You always know when they’re about to get sick. You’re always there to look after me when I get sick and feel miserable and you always know exactly how to make me feel better.
If our sons turn out to be like you, I know they’ll be conscientious and moral. Because you are. You have a strong conscience and an unwavering understanding of right and wrong. You’ve forced me into being a better person. You’ve made me rediscover my conscience and shown me the importance of always doing the right thing. From you our boys will learn that even though the right thing is usually the hard thing to do, it must be done.
If our sons turn out to be like you, I know they’ll be determined and committed. Your stubbornness, hardheadedness and resolve can be frustrating for me sometimes, but it’s also inspirational. Where I would have thrown in the towel, you carry on and on until you’ve finished what you’ve started. You’ve also stuck by me, through thick and thin for nearly a decade, which is a miracle in itself.
If our sons turn out to be like you, I know they’ll be self-assured and outspoken. Because you are. You’ll teach them to never accept anything less than they deserve, and you’ll teach them to argue for what they deserve. Because of you, they’ll never settle for less. They’ll never have to make do with less. They’ll have high standards and high expectations, but this will serve them well.
So you see, my love, there is so much good in you that it’s impossible that our children will be failures. It’s impossible that they’ll turn out to be bad people. Yes, you’ve got a temper and you don’t always know how to deal with it, but you try harder every day to come to grips with it, where other people wouldn’t even give it a second thought.
This fathering thing. You’re better at it than you give yourself credit for. You’re better at it than you think. Ever since that moment when I saw you hold our firstborn in your hands, I knew that you’d be a good father. You’ve got so much love and potential for goodness, that it would be a disservice to my boys to deprive them of that.
I know you’re having a hard time right now, in your own head. But I know it’s not forever. I’m here for you to lean on, as long as you need to. Until you find your way to being comfortable with yourself. Until you’ve made peace with yourself. Because I have faith in you.
So happy Fathers’ Day, my love. I’m really grateful that I don’t have to do this parenting thing alone. But most of all, I’m really grateful I don’t have to do this life thing alone. Because as much as you can drive me batshit crazy, I’m also batshit crazy about you.