Back in that other life…you know, the one before kids, Brad and I were in the baby aisle at Target trying to buy baby shampoo. We were stocking up the nursery. Go, proactive parents, go! The only problem was, we didn’t have a CLUE what we were supposed to buy. We stood there looking at all the different choices. Does is have to specifically mention “head to toe”? Can we get the lavender one like somebody suggested? Would that work for shampoo or was that just body wash? Over and over we went through the choices, totally overwhelmed. At one point Brad looked at me and said, “Aren’t you supposed to know this stuff? You’re the mom.” I quickly pointed out that I was no more a mom than he was a dad and we started asking random strangers for help choosing the right baby shampoo. Oh how young and naive we were back then….way back then… Little did we know that in an instant all that would change. In an instant Brad would go from a man who never held babies and certainly hadn’t ever changed a diaper, to a Daddy.
A Daddy who didn’t shy away when the nurse handed him a pair of scissors.
A Daddy who instantly knew the best ways to swaddle and hold a teeny tiny little princess.
A Daddy who instinctively knows that Saturday and Sunday mornings are best spent cuddling up in bed, letting time stand still for just a moment.
A Daddy who discovered that playing with rattles and tickling noses is better than any Sunday afternoon football game.
A Daddy who knows that there’s no rule that says that little girls can’t love football as much as their Dads, especially if they get to dress up while they watch.
A Daddy who knows that little girls, no matter how small, need to know that their Daddy’s arms are safe, and strong. That between those shoulders is one of the safest places on earth.
A Daddy who knows that while it’s true little girls love dolls and playing house, they also want to play baseball, basketball, and football….just like their Daddy.
A Daddy who knows that sacrifice, no matter how great or small, just became a way of life. A Daddy who instinctively, and selflessly, puts the happiness and well-being of his little girl ahead of his own desires.
A Daddy who knows that it is his voice and his actions that his little girl will listen to more than just about anybody’s and so it’s up to him to tell her that she is beautiful, that she is lovely, that she is worth more than all the diamonds in the world…and that if he tells her often enough she’ll listen, and she’ll feel loved, and she’ll feel beautiful.
A Daddy who knows that little girl’s secrets are the best secrets in the whole wide world…and if they’re kept then he’ll be trusted with his teenage daughters secrets, and that’s a goal worth aiming for.
A Daddy who knows that sometimes it’s just fun to fly, no matter how many times it makes your heart flip inside you.
It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to parent alongside you. It’s no secret that Zoe’s favorite time of every day is when you walk in the door from work, and I know why. If she could talk I’m sure she would tell you that you’re the best daddy she could ever possibly imagine. And that your love for her has created such a safe place for her to learn and grow as she explores and discovers the world. Thank you for being my partner in this crazy trial and error experiment called parenthood. Thank you for loving me through all the ups and downs as I’ve wrestled with this identity change of becoming “mom”. You never did. You just became Zoe’s dad. You are the most natural father I’ve ever seen before. Thank you for loving both of us so selflessly. You are beyond amazing… Here’s to years and years of chaos, laughter, tears, fights, apologies, more diapers than we can count, bottles, pacifiers, sleepless night, teenagers, graduations, proms…life. There’s nobody on the face of the planet I’d rather share this adventure with. Happy Father’s Day, my dear. I love you. Deeply.