I wrote this for The Today show, you can go and vote for it here if you enjoy it. This is a love letter to Dale, a yell, chant, scream, public thank you!
Being a Mom in today’s world gives us ladies some liberty’s. We have a all-access pass to the “mom tribe”. There is articles written in support of us, commercial’s geared towards us, whole brands make their focus of grabbing the attention of us Mom’s. However, these is a forgotten member to the family. My family has a secret weapon. We call him Daddy. I call him my husband.
He is the quiet supporter, the unsung hero of the family. He has had to navigate through the role of parenthood on his own. There is no Daddy tribe for him to turn to and get validation for his valiant efforts. Granted, there is never as much criticism for the Dads in the world. That does not mean they have it easy.
Men are the butt of many jokes, the safety net of parental jokes. My husband has been called a babysitter when with our children. As if he has no other role than that of watching the kids while I, the real parent am busy. He has been ridiculed by other Mommies for his lack of Mommy-like parental abilities. Dad’s in general are understood to be the assistant parent, my side kick.
However, my husband is the silent crusader. He takes the weight of the world, our home, financial situation and lack luster respect from the world and runs with it all. He shoulders it like a truly amazing man. He wakes up at 5 am every day so that he can leave the office by 3pm, still giving him plenty of time to throw a ball in the backyard with the kid’s. He has handled his career in a way that allows him to financially support us, a family of 5. All the while allowing him to never miss a ballet recital or preschool graduation.
He is the force to be reckoned with, but silently. He is the calm to my storm, the reason to my worry, the fun to my over planning. He is the other half to this equation. My husband is the monster scarer, spider killer, muscle to this operation. He does it all with no request to be recognized for his efforts. No demand to be heard within the world as a legitimate Dad. He would laugh at that statement. Of course he is a Dad, he simply just is.
When a Dad is there, involved and present within a family he goes unnoticed. It is not until the Dad is missing, that is when the conversation begins. That is when the loss is felt. There is no greater gift to a child than to have a Daddy. To be raised by a strong, humble, kind, fun, and great man is a wonderful gift to be had.
My son’s see him as a true hero, a living, walking, talking, superman. They want to grow up and be him. They eat all of their vegetables (and everything in sight) in hopes of being as big as him. My daughter wants to marry him, ignoring the fact that he is spoken for. I am so proud of the man my son’s have to look up to. The example my daughter has of the way a man should treat a woman.
The generation my husband and I are in is forming new definitions of fatherhood. However, there is still a assumption and pressure for him to succeed in the workforce. To be 100% at work, and now 100% at home. Of course woman do this also. But, there is countless articles, Facebook status shares, and other numerous praise for this accomplishment. The modern, go to Dad of today gets nothing but a whisper of thank you.
This is the thing though. My husband, my kid’s Daddy needs nothing more. We are his Daddy tribe, we are all that matters. His humble and gracious way of handling being a Daddy puts me in awe. His quiet way of handling life’s stress puts any relaxation technique to shame. My husband can walk in the door, after a long day and get lost in the imagination of building LEGO’s. He can create the biggest jungle gym ever by simply laying on the ground and rolling around with the kids. He is the fun to our life, the ever present and much needed fun.
“What if I fall?” Oh but darling, what if you fly?”- Erin Hanson
With a Dad in a child’s life, that child will go far. A Dad truly can make you fly. With the unwavering support, uncelebrated, quietly whispered beauty of a Father. Along with his strong shoulders to carry you, eyes closed, and cape on. My dear, any child will fly!