On this Father’s Day, I could tell you all the stereotypical things, like how funny and sweet you are and how we can always count on you to open jars or carry our sons to bed. But I need you to know that from the moment I was pregnant, I saw how you took on the role of protector and nurturer so seamlessly. From doctors appointments to picking out nursery colors, you were involved from the start to the finish. Every step of the way to becoming a parent, you were right there beside me, making sure your children were going to be OK.
Rather than telling you “Happy Father’s Day,” I instead want to share why you are so incredibly special to our family. When I decided that I would have children one day, I promised myself that things would be different from what I experienced in my childhood. Although my father loved me to the best of his ability in the way he knew how, there were so many instances that could have been different if my father had more guidance and understanding.
Throughout my childhood, I vividly remember questioning my father’s love and if he even cared for me and my brother, and I knew that if I ever had children, I wanted the man I fell in love with to parent in a completely different way. From the bottom of my heart, I am thankful for being with a man who is willing to love with every fiber of his being, is strong and sensitive, and is unapologetically passionate about being an amazing dad. Thank you for being the father to our children that I always wanted.
Our parenting journey wasn’t always easy and happy. You were there to rush me to the hospital when I was pregnant and in pain, and you held my hand as the doctors ran tests and gave me medicine to stop preterm labor. You were present every single moment and helped talk through every pro and con of medication and “what ifs,” and you held me when I cried. Our little man held on, and I know in my heart that you were a big reason that he was able to until 37 weeks.
Not every person can take on the role of father and the responsibilities involved in the good times and the bad. But what takes even more strength is your ability to listen and learn from your mistakes and your willingness to admit to your mistakes and work as a team to do the best for our boys.
Sometimes, I worry about our children fearing that they are not enough. But then we go about our day, the kids go to school, and their eyes brighten when either of us comes home. The way they love you, their father, is healing something inside me that I never thought would heal. There is some magic to healing intergenerational wounds and taking the stuff that hurt us as children out of the equation while keeping the good.
The way they love you, their father, is healing something inside me that I never thought would heal.
Thank you for loving our children freely and openly, from kissing their plump cheeks to running around the house playing tag to putting bandages on imaginary bumps and bruises.
Thank you for putting our children’s emotional and physical safety first. Most parents know how to teach the importance of staying away from a hot stove or looking both ways before crossing a street. But sometimes, it is easier to put our child’s physical safety first and forget about their emotional needs. You may not have instinctively known how to do this and stumbled over the years, but our two little boys see how you model your mistakes and successes. I know they are flourishing because of what they see in you.
Thank you for being vulnerable and admitting when you are wrong. You are modeling a healthy example of how men should be for our children and are not making excuses for poor behavior. You show them that it is OK to make mistakes, it’s OK to cry, and it is also OK to get angry. By expressing your feelings, you are giving them so many important tools to cope with big feelings in a healthy way without guilting them or yourself for being human.
Most of all, thank you for standing with me through tears, pregnancy cravings, late-night feedings, and hormonal changes. Thank you for holding me tight and standing with me as a partner as we both figured out how to be the best possible parents.
Thank you for holding me tight and standing with me as a partner as we both figured out how to be the best possible parents.
I need you to know how important you are and that no matter what comes our way, our family will always be better because you are in our lives helping us lead together. On this Father’s Day and the next, I hope you feel our love and appreciation for the man you are and what you mean to us.
Happy Father’s Day from the bottom of my heart. We love you more than you can ever know, but maybe this letter will help you realize how important you and all dads like you are.