Every mother has a story. Whether that is adoption or natural birth or c-section, every mother has a story of the day their life changed forever. Frequently these stories include detailed accounts of labor or difficult pregnancies or painful infertility.
The stories we don’t hear are the ones about the day men become fathers. As I get older and reflect on my thirties I regret the fact that perhaps David’s story was left behind. That perhaps in my own confusion about what it meant to be a mother and in the fog of early parenthood I never gave much thought to the journey David traveled. Perhaps he has been far more alone in that journey then I have given him credit.
David supported me quietly and steadily through two years of infertility. As I swung between the tree limbs of hope and despair he stayed sturdy on the ground. I would plummet into tears and he would lift my spirits by telling me that he would take me on fancy European vacations if we ended up childless. If his heart ached or if he was also disappointed he never gave voice to it.
After Lucy was born I struggled with breast feeding and as I sat on the edge of our bed crumpled into a pile of tears and failure it was David who gently lifted me up and put me back on my feet. It was David who told me that I was a fantastic mother before I even knew what being a mother meant.
Max was born right on the heels of Lucy and I suddenly found myself being a full time working mother and all of the demands that the role includes. When I came to David tired, stressed and unsure of my path it was David who gave me the space to figure out my own career choices and supported every decision I made.
When I miscarried and thought the world had come to an end it was David who dried my tears and told me to be patient — that time heals all wounds – and then gave me that time to heal.
And when we got unexpectedly pregnant with the third. When his job was pressing him to the brink of insanity. When the idea of bringing home a baby into a house with no space must have been weighing on him he went and bought us a new house.
After Harper was born and I found myself in a new house, with a third baby, and my son facing a tonsillectomy and the clouds of postpartum depression rolling in it was David who gently told me to not worry about the kids but take care of myself. He was the one who said, “do whatever you need to do – sleep if that feels good – talk if it feels good”.
During all of this chaos David has traveled his own journey into parenthood. How did he know what fatherhood would be like, or feel like? Did he know what kind of father he would be? Perhaps he didn’t know. Perhaps he still doesn’t know. However, I know.
He is an amazing father who shows unfailing, unconditional love every day. He is a father who easily shares a joke and extends forgiveness. He believes in high adventures and lazy Saturdays. He is the kind of dad who will teach you to bait a hook and how to take the best selfie all in the same day. He is a father who believes that a healthy and happy mother makes for healthy and happy children. He is a father who loves his children. But above all else he is the best and only father I could ever imagine for my children.
Happy Father’s Day David.