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Happy Father’s Day: A Love Letter.

June 21, 2015

Father's Day | The Orange Slate

Father's Day | The Orange Slate

Mark,

Last Father’s Day, I was 36 weeks pregnant, so this is your first Father’s Day with a laughing, rambunctious, squeezable baby.

(And I know you hate Hallmark holidays almost as much as you hate social media, but humor me for just a minute.)

The grace and ease with which you slid into the role of “Dad” never fails to baffle me. Before we had Miles, you’d never spent much time around babies. You’d never changed a diaper. But you were good at being Daddy from the start.

You, so carefree and spontaneous and always making fun of me for being too cautious, are so protective of our little guy. When we first drove home from the hospital, you missed our turn, rolled slowly through an intersection and turned around to avoid turning too sharply with our sleeping bundle.

Our baby is so lucky to have you for a Daddy. Sometimes I get caught up in feeding schedules and sleep schedule and THOSE HORRIBLE NAP SCHEDULES and then you come home and tickle Miles and throw him up in the air and make him laugh so hard that he can’t breathe and you remind me that this parenting gig should be FUN.

Father's Day | The Orange Slate

Father's Day | The Orange Slate

You soak up every second of Miles’ milestones with me like no other baby has ever existed. We spent fifteen minutes the other night simply passing a wooden panda bear back and forth with Miles, over and over and over, laughing hysterically at his enthusiasm for this new-found trick of “sharing”.

I pat myself on the back for my wealth of baby trivia garnered from piles of baby manuals and blogs and websites and my frequent calls to our pediatricians nursing station. But I secretly think you are actually the better parent.

Because this parenting stuff is not for the birds and when Miles gets in a fight or gets his first “D” or wrecks the car, I know that you’ll be there for him, calm and steadfast, like you always are for me. It’s just what you do.

You help Miles scoot and crawl and tackle stairs and I know this is just the beginning. Later you’ll teach him how to be brave about bigger things, harder and scarier things than living room step or the staircase.

And I suspect that when Miles is older and I still want to be controlling and protective and crazy (like I do), you will be the voice of reason and will make sure our little guy stretches his wings when he needs it the most.

And then when he has screwed up (like kids and teenagers and young adults do), you will still love him without reservation and extend him that same cheery, carefree, heartfelt grace that has always drawn people to you.

Father's Day | The Orange Slate1

Father's Day | The Orange Slate3

You show him how to feed the ducks and how to push his red ball back and forth and later you will show him how to plan a backpacking trip into the wilderness and how to leave home. And you will remind him that real adventures can’t be planned and that you can wash clothes in a sink and that we are better people when we take on the unknown.

Having a tiny baby and moving away from everyone we know isn’t always fun and games. When Miles still refused to sleep at 5 weeks and I melted in the middle of the night into a soggy puddle of tears and hysteria, you took over and let me rest even though you were the one who had class the next day.

Sometimes it drives me crazy that I spend almost every shred of sanity I have on this parenting thing and yet you somehow manage to take Miles to a happy hour without a diaper bag, a bottle, or a single piece of additional paraphernalia and you still both walk in the door smiling two hours later.

You are a daily reminder to me that this is not about schedules or instruction manuals or doing it right or being better at it than fill-in-the-blank.

We get to watch this precious little guy grow up. You take on the role of Daddy with such joy and excitement and wonder and you remind me every day what an utter privilege it is to be a parent.

And I am so grateful that I get to do this job alongside you.

Happy Father’s Day, love.

Father's Day | The Orange Slate2