Father’s Day has always been a tough one for me.
My own dad split before I was two. My ex-stepdad and I have a relationship that has run the gamut from good to bad to nonexistent. Now, we have a healthy respect for each other and I definitely consider him an important family member. But I don’t call either one of these men “Dad.”
Enter my amazing husband. When we decided to start a family, I knew that we would truly parent as a team – my kids would have the dad that I never did. He is tender, kind, courageous, strong, funny, and smart – all the qualities that I hope my boys someday emulate. And he is there, in big and small ways, everyday, present and available to our sons. He is teaching me what a dad is.
Twin dads are a special breed. They don’t get enough credit much of the time. While many first-time dads are auxillary care-givers, twin dads are primary care-givers alongside mom. Most twin dads I know are more involved and more knowledgeable than dads of singletons, simply because they have to be – with two, mom can’t do it all (even if she wants to!).
The day we got home from the hospital when the boys were born, I returned in an ambulance for an additional four-day stay (uterine lining infection, among other things). My husband and my mom were suddenly responsible for 4-day-old infant twins. He was awesome. He took tender care of them, sleeping on the floor beside their Nap Nannies, because he wanted to be close to them. He dressed them and brought them to me in the hospital, one at a time, so they could nurse. He painstakingly fed them from a cup so they wouldn’t have trouble breastfeeding. When I got home, he would get up at night with me and bring me the boys one at a time. I literally did not change a diaper until the boys were two weeks old because my husband was eager to take care of them in any way he could.
As the boys have grown, I’ve watched their relationship with their dad blossom. R cries everyday when he leaves for work, and scampers up to him with a huge smile and shining eyes when he gets home. In the future, I can see the two of them enjoying hikes, playing catch, and sharing a love of books that R already exhibits. Shy M looks around for dad when he’s feeling nervous, and settles comfortably in the security of his arms. I know they will love sitting quietly together, making a meal or watching the game, and trading jokes, each with their own fantastic laugh. My boys love their dad, and he is crazy about them too.
I know this first year of parenthood hasn’t always been easy. In addition to having twins, my husband started a new job this year. Talk about major life stressors. Yet every day, he participates in running the household and finds energy to scoop up his boys and give them cuddles and play time and lots and lots of giggles. At times, I stand back and just watch the three of them, happy to witness all this love.
This Father’s Day is special because it’s the first one that I am happy to celebrate. Instead of an awkward reminder of half-relationships, this year I am proud to honor the best dad I’ve ever known. Times two.
Happy Father’s Day to all the new and veteran dads out there.