June 21, 2009

What being a dad means

Dear Swee’Pea and TheMonk,

Today is Father’s Day. When I was growing up, this day meant very little to me. Since my own father died when I was six, Father’s Day was often a painful reminder that my father wasn’t around to celebrate the day with.

But then 28 years after the death of my father, you two came along and, all of a sudden, Father’s Day had meaning again. My first Father’s Day was just days after you were born and I didn’t really get what being a father meant. That was the curse of not growing up with a father – I just didn’t know. But it was also a blessing. It was a blessing because I could dictate what being a father meant to me rather than what I had learned through my interactions with someone else. I could shed stereotypes about what being a man is all about and create my own definition of what being a father means.

And four years later I now know, more than ever before, what it means to be a father. I know it because I’m living it every day through my interactions with you both.

You see, being a father means providing strength when you need it most. It means gentle kisses in the morning and evening and every time in between. It means a firm resolve to show you the difference between right and wrong. It means leading by example and being the person I want you to grow up to be.

Being a father means wiping noses, wiping butts, and wiping away the tears. It means loving you so much that the love gets me to the next day, even when it seems like the weight of the world is upon my shoulders. It means being the one who comforts you in the middle of the night after a bad dream and the one who dances with you in the light of day to celebrate a milestone. It means having to say no when I really want to say yes. It means saying yes when I really want to say no.

Being a father means baking cookies, baking cakes or just plain making the attempt. It means learning that not every shade of pink matches and that superglue fixes the broken heart that comes along with a broken toy. It means learning to make a ponytail, painting little fingernails and going shopping for a new tube of lip gloss. It means teaching the intricacies of the internal combustion engine – even when I have to make some of it up along the way.

Being a father means expressing my love out loud but also expressing my love through deeds. It means sharing a popsicle on a hot day, giving horsey back rides and helping you climb the difficult ladder at the playground. It means putting on lipstick, clip-on earrings and having tea out of pink plastic cups. It means teaching how to throw and catch a ball.

Being a father means reading the same story three nights in a row. It means finding a Hot Wheel and a barrette in my pocket while sitting in a meeting at work. It means researching the best car seats and then buy four of them and not thinking about the cost – until the total is read out loud. It means planting “magic beans” in the back yard and pretending they grow into beautiful flowers. It means pretending the beautiful flowers smell really, really good.

Being a father means so much more than I can write in a single post. But then that’s why I have this blog. So you can see first-hand, my little ones, how much I love being your Daddy. While this year has been a tough one for us I hope you remember this time, if you remember it at all, as being one of love and feeling safe and secure. Because, above all else, that’s what being a father is all about.

Love you always,
Daddy.

12 Comments

  1. And a happy Father’s Day to you, Matthew!

    Comment by Deanna — June 22, 2009 @ 1:40 am

  2. same story ONLY three nights in a row? dude, you are lucky! love this post. happy father’s day!

    Comment by ali — June 22, 2009 @ 6:38 am

  3. What lucky kids they are. Truly.

    Happy Father’s Day to you.

    Comment by Kate — June 22, 2009 @ 7:39 am

  4. If only every other father felt that way. Thanks for being a good one Matthew.

    Comment by Jane — June 22, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

  5. Happy Father’s Day Matthew! What a wonderful post!

    Hugs & Blessings!

    Comment by Mam├íChanga — June 22, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

  6. Love you more than a banana.

    Comment by Grandmother — June 22, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

  7. Beautiful post, Matthew. Your kids are going to love this blog one day.

    Comment by debra — June 22, 2009 @ 4:16 pm

  8. What a beautiful post. Happy Father’s Day to a great dad!

    Comment by Jen (aka P-Pie) — June 22, 2009 @ 7:01 pm

  9. Beautiful Matthew. Just beautiful.

    Happy belated Father’s Day. I hope it was a good one.

    Comment by Issa — June 23, 2009 @ 8:43 am

  10. Aaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!

    Comment by TheMommyTsunami — June 23, 2009 @ 4:21 pm

  11. I’m glad you have the opportunity to be that kind of a father to your children. And I’m glad that you want it.

    I have a bit of a crush on you right this minute. ;)

    Comment by Kellee — June 24, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

  12. Heartwarming! No amount of success in life amounts to the joy and satisfaction of coming home at the end of the day to kids who call you “Daddy”!

    Comment by Pinoy Daddy — June 28, 2009 @ 10:07 pm

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