We have enjoyed a sweet little Father’s Day to celebrate year two of Chris’s fatherhood. He played golf with some guys early this morning (though Mommy was already up with a perky girl who awoke at 4:30!), and then later today we went to a fancier-than-usual restaurant in Old Town Frederick for an afternoon brunch (there's such a thing).
There, as Charlotte pulled her sundress above her head, we realized that she's pretty much on the brink of the we-can-no-longer-go-to-restaurants age. To drive the point home, there was a lot of sippy cup and silverware banging on the table. Fortunately, (1) a band was playing, which covered her noise; (2) the tablecloth absorbed much of the sound (yes, just this once we took her to a restaurant with fancy tablecloths); (3) our server was the mum of a 14-month-old, so she was infinitely patient and good to us; and (4) a summery sauvingnon blanc quelled whatever humiliation our toddler try to cause us.
So actually, brunch was great!
I gave Chris a gardening book he had wanted but never splurged for, and Charlotte gave her daddy a cute little photo thing that spins for his desk at work. Oh, and her Father’s Day craft from school—an adorable handprint craft and photo magnet. Perfect to show off at work!
Chris is more than just a supplier of half of Charlotte’s DNA. Chris is a truly great dad. He really is. Sure, I get on his case for forgetting to put a bib on Charlotte when she has insisted on feeding herself oatmeal. And perhaps, on occasion, I’ll shrilly snap something along the lines of “Would you please set down your iPhone for one second and put our screeching child in the highchair now?” (Chris has a bad habit of thinking Charlotte’s needs can wait while he finishes looking up the weather, seeing what a politician has Tweeted, or reading an article on libertarian economics. Meanwhile, poop is oozing out of Charlotte’s diaper, and Mommy swoops in to Just Do It Herself. But I digress.)
Seriously, though. Chris is the one person on this earth who loves that child as much as I do. Here’s how I know:
- When Charlotte approaches him with a book, he never hesitates to hoist her up onto his lap and read it to her. He’ll even do the animal sounds.
- He accurately fills out the forms every day at school, and can even correctly mark which of our snotty organic vegetables or fruits are taking the place of which school-provided snack foods that day.
- He stares at her, watching her antics, with a daddy-love smirk on his face.
- He worries about stupid stuff, like if the shoes I bought her at Target will deform her feet because they’re cheaper than the shoes at Nordstrom.
- When Charlotte was 8 months old, terribly sick and in intense pain, Chris stood in that hospital radiology room with me while I held down the arms of our screaming baby who was strapped to the table for her barium enema. As I held down her arms and sobbed, I saw the grimmest look on his face I have ever, EVER seen him wear. It is burned into my memory—I almost cry just thinking about it. And I knew this ordeal was as painful for him as for me. And I loved him for it.
- And when we had met him in the emergency room parking lot, I had barely gotten the car into park before he had pulled Charlotte out her car seat and was racing into the hospital with her.
- On a significantly less dire note, Chris will use the NoseFrida snot-sucker thing on Charlotte. I gag just watching. That’s fatherly love.
- He’ll share his breakfast with her, as they watch CNBC together.
- Chris checks on her every night before hitting the hay, and he always gives his sleeping girl one more caress on her head or gentle pat on her belly. Always.
- He cooks her meat and eggs ALL the way through to reduce her chance of food-borne illness. For this foodie, that’s a mighty big sacrifice.
- Despite oodles of research telling him it’s pointless, he humors his wife and spends the extra money for organic whole milk.
- He works really, really hard and really, really long hours to provide for his child. This past year, he had to make decisions at work that were best for his family, not himself. And he did good.
- Even though I can’t get him to hang a picture to save my life, he put together Charlotte’s play kitchen the day it arrived.
- Even as he suffered through cold after cold this winter, Chris kept the humidifier in Charlotte’s room.
- I have never, ever heard him snap at Charlotte. And she's a TODDLER.
- When he holds her, he kisses the top of her head without realizing it.
- Finally, after the first night Charlotte was in the hospital, I raced in the next morning, ready to relieve him, as had been awake with her all night. When I got to her room, my miserable, traumatized, and flushed girl lay on his chest, clutching his shirt. She was exhausted and terrified (and sick!), and this mama’s girl held onto her daddy like he could protect her from absolutely anything. And by the way he held her—incredibly tenderly but also with sheer protectiveness I hadn’t seen in him before—I’d say she was right.
That kid is so lucky, it’s unreal. So, happy Father's Day to all you men--daddies, uncles, grandpas, or just decent guys participating in a kid's life--out there who aren't above changing diapers, calling the pediatrician, reading the same story 3,586 times, playing chase, or telling the little ones in your life that you love them. Well done!