They say you have to earn your stripes. I never imagined when I met you that 12 years later I’d be typing away in bed to try and articulate how and why I am grateful for the dad that you are to our daughters. Daughters! Three times over. We were just going to date… You are a wonderful dad, as proclaimed by Briar, just hours off of losing her 7th tooth (the second this week!)
“Dad is so good at drawing, ‘specially the tooth fairy maps and letters.”The s sounds were all dusted with a no-upper-front-teeth lisp which made my heart splinter and my hand reach for you. So often, that, a turn, an intake of breath or a mental note, “…tell Sean.” And it’s not always about the girls—our life, our family, every little thing is brighter and more meaningful for having been shared with you. You are a wonderful dad because you spark joy. Laughter, storytelling, competitive daddy-back-riding and, little yellow basket harmonizing. Our smiles are for you and thanks to you. I know because the godfather says that it is so.
Early on you talked a lot about how you were raised, and even more about where you were raised. There was always music and there was the lake. You’ve given your girls, myself included, all of that and more. Your knowledge of how things work, playing guitar, singing the bridge, or rocking out to a song. The girls can spot Dome Island, they delight in the snow (and the snow, and the snow, and the snow….) they can sing along to music from Big Band to Bieber, Buble to P!nk—you swore not to let The Wiggles in and I kind of love that you blocked them out with the gritty and the sublime. When Ave isn’t strumming a guitar, singing into a tiki torch or banging away on the drums, she is pursuing things with fierce determination. She is insanely athletic and sometimes unaware of her own strength.
You celebrate that and that makes me less nervous about my own tendency to not understand my own strength. Ours girls go beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Their blue eyes, their collective ear for music and so many other things mame me smile for the obvious reflection of you. Then there are the not so obvious; elements of their character that speak to kindness and honesty. I believe that some of this has been passed on through DNA, but I know so much of it to be what they witness in you. The softness in your voice, the willingness to help others and the way that you love us.
We are great partners in this parenting thing, but as I think of Father’s Day and what it should mean, I realize that a great deal of it needs to be how exactly you came to be a father. How we loved and how we will continue to love as these sweet girls become women. I can’t say I know exactly how we’ll do it, but we’ve jumped in and figured things out pretty well so far. We’ve always wanted for them is to know how to love and how to be loved. I love the way their eyes light up when you swing me in your arms or how rapt they look as they listen to stories of our wedding. I want to remember the guy behind the dad and the girl behind the mom. Your are a great dad, but that is because you are an incredible friend, tender husband and wonderful man. And so, while the backdrop is cluttered and the surface is scraped and a bit worse for the wear, in the spirit of keeping what started it all alive, I’m happy to say Father’s Day with a little bit of leg.
I love you, babe. Happy Father’s Day.