Growing up, we used to watch Donna Reed on Nick at Nite. And I remember thinking, when watching that, that my dad was different. He would come home from work and yes, he’d ask how our day was, but he’d also cut up with us. He’d laugh and make us laugh and he’d get in there… elbows deep in the school projects and the basketball teams and the raising of two independent, strong-willed women. When he built the deck, he gave me the scrap wood and nails and a hammer and let me go to town making Barbie warships. (shut up… my Barbie was a badass… she had camo and buzz cut and used her high heels as weapons.)
He showed me what to look for in a husband. He cooked and cleaned and made sacrifices for us. He and my mother are the reason that Dan and I are able to work together so well to find a solution to problems. My father has been as much a dad to Daniel since we got married 15 years ago as he has been to me. Talking him through career choices and education issues and how to handle little girls. He’s funny and corny and warm and strong and he values women with intelligence and strength and power. He raised two amazing women, and taught me to raise two amazing girls.
He’s mischievous and slightly dirty old man. And he will noogy you bald if you push him. This photo was one fun evening where we were all cutting in the kitchen when I was in high school. My sister was being particularly annoying and was hounding him and picking on him while she was eating a banana. Bad idea. He took the banana and noogied her with the banana… she had banana all in her hair. It was hilarious. We had music playing and he was dancing with mom in the kitchen.
Because of my dad’s wry sense of humor and “sure, go for it” attitude, I have a childhood full of ridiculous belly laughs and a complete lack of fear. I didn’t think I had to worry about anything at all. I was an explorer and a warrior and a scientist. My mother made me an artist and a writer and a thinker. But my dad made me act on that.
He showed me what to look for in a man to be the father of my children.
I am married to an incredible father. My husband changes poopie diapers and makes waffles on Sunday mornings for the babies. He teaches my daughter to make cup cakes and goes to Girl Scout meetings when I can’t take the people exposure. He gets on the floor and lets the kids climb like monkey bars.
Daniel gave up a career in finance and went to nursing school to help his sick baby girl. He has accessed her port when she needed emergency fluids and he has held her and been puked on and just rolled with it when the chemo was flowing. He has done the doctors appointments and the ultrasounds and the endoscopies and the long drives to the hospital and the 90 mph drives down the road to the ER. He has been the steady, calm parent with it all together when I lose it. He’s superdaddy.
My husband cooks and cleans and changes oil in my truck, and buys me a truck because I want it, and sings to the kids and dances with me in the kitchen and noogies our oldest when she climbs on him. He plays dolls and lets them paint his toenails and wears glow in the dark butterfly temporary tattoos his son puts on him. He is tall and strong and smart and hilarious and my children are blessed to have him in their lives.
I have been blessed. I have the greatest Daddy a girl could ever want, and I married an incredible man who turned out to be such an amazing Daddy in his own right. And that’s the thing. Yes, they are both fathers, but they are also both “Daddy,” which is an earned title. That is what it means to be Daddy.
Today is Father’s Day. It’s not just a day to do cook outs and get Daddy some tools. Today is a day to celebrate all that it means to be Daddy. It is a day to show these men that sacrifice who they are for their children, whether biological or otherwise, that they mean so much to us.
So to all the Daddy’s out there. Happy Father’s Day. You are so much more than just the man in the house. You are the beating heart of the family. (Mommy’s the brain). We love you very much.