When it comes to fatherhood, hand-ons is the new black.
You need only witness advertisements, the growing culture of blogging dads, and our own playgrounds to see that, as a whole, modern fatherhood is very different than it was for our father’s fathers. A new culture is being carved out whereby fathers are equal players in this parenting game, both within their homes and outside of them – at swimming lessons, in grocery stores, in libraries and at dance class. Dads kiss the hurts. They cook the dinner. They rock their babies. They are involved, more than they have ever been before, and that is something to be celebrated.
Dads — far and wide — we celebrate you. We see you. We need you. We want our daughters to call you in tears with problems. We want our sons to ask your advice. We know you can be just as nurturing, just as emotionally available, just as capable as mums. And we know that this job of raising children and preparing them for life is the most important job we will ever do, and that by facing that job as a team, together, means we can cover the gaps where we individually fall short. With every wee on the toilet we cheer, with every reading of Ruby Red Shoes, with every brush stroke of their hair, we bind together and we guide them, together. We might be naturally inclined, naturally equipped at performing the stereotypical mum and dad roles, but we don’t limit our experiences with our children to them. We both pick up that phone when they call crying. We both whip that hair back into a french braid, and smile proudly at our efforts.
I love how you burst through that door and scoop them up in your arms. I love how elaborate you make your story telling, doing the voices and exaggerating the sentences to make the experience of bedtime stories so enthralling. I love the pride in your eyes when you tell me how well you are going at work, when you know you are providing so well for us. I love the way you accidentally bowl me over to get to them if they are hurt, as an instinct, before you even have time to think. I love the song you sing to them to calm them down. I love the way you look at them. They way you make them feel adored. I love how excited you get over the littlest things they do, over the swimming lessons you take them to, over the solo time you have together. And I heard you last night as you were whispering love stories into Billy’s ear, telling him about the life you are going to share together, about all the fun you are going to have. I heard it and I loved it.
It’s so easy to forget about all of the good moments when we’re sleep-deprived and wrung dry. When it’s Saturday afternoon and I’m annoyed you’re not home yet. When the house is a mess and the kids are crying and we look at each other like, Hey, wanna run away?
But sitting here now, after having celebrated you yesterday and the way you love our children, reliving the day you became a father and all the ways you’ve fathered since – the hands which have held theirs, the eyes which have beamed down on them, the tears shed because of them, the fun, the joy, the life you breathe into them, I want you to know that I see all of it and I’m so grateful for it.
My most favourite moments with you are the simple ones – when we’re driving in the car and we hear Billy giggling because Ella is pulling faces at him – and we look at each other in that way I can never do justice to describe. It is so binding, that look. Because in that moment, we both have that one person out there in the world who knows exactly what it feels like to love them. To have them as ours. The confidence I feel in you, in your ability to father them, in facing each tomorrow knowing that they have you too–there isn’t a picture or word or whole damn library in the great wide world that could represent what that means to me.
Happy Father’s Day, Joely. Thank you for giving our children strong arms to run to and a soft heart to call home.
Here’s some pics of our day yesterday celebrating The Fatherload – Joel, my dad and my father-in-law.
Tradition 1: Hand-made wrapping paper.
Tradition 2: The Ella Card Buy.
Last year’s Father’s day saw me trialling the idea of Ella! Here’s $15! Go crazy! Buy your dad what you think he’ll like! in the $2 shop. Obviously, this resulted in Joel being gifted pink ribbon, some fridge magnets and an eraser, otherwise known as Bad Idea, so I adapted it this year to contain just the card buy.
It was so much fun.
Especially when you hit the musical card section and have a dance off in the middle of the newsagents to get down get down get down get down get down tonight. $8 later ($8!!), we emerged happy, gripping in our hot little hands the best card ever.
Today is the start of something good.
Another day in the amazing life of you!
(to the booty-shaking soundtrack of get down get down get down get down get down to-night)
It was a hit.
I’m thinking about pinning it to the fridge..life lessons for all in that card.
Joel got some socks and his first ever kindy-made Father’s Day present.
And – my favourite – a memory game I had made for him via Prinstagram.
I gathered a collection of some of my favourite Instagram photos of Joel and our children and had them printed on Prinstagram’s double-sided contact cards into a memory game we can play together when the kids are a bit older. I love making meaningful gifts, things which provoke a story, and already, Joel has sat with Ella going through each of the photos saying And that was the time when….
“That’s Ella when Ella was a baby!” Ella says and we say Yes honey, it is!
We celebrated Joel’s dad in the morning over a Champagne breakfast.
And we celebrated my dad in the afternoon over a late lunch.
Happy Father’s Day (for yesterday!) to all you wonderful dads out there! We love you!
And last week’s Photo Dump because, you know, I forgot. (theredtent on Instagram if you want to follow the feed.)