The King of the Castle

 

Daddy Pic 1

I was never one who insisted upon being married and having kids by a certain age. This is a good thing because it would definitely not have gone according to anyone’s plan. I met my husband at the tender age of twenty-one and we have been inseparable since the day we met. We fell in love, bought a house, and got married (in that order). I love my husband and knew he would make a fantastic father. However, for a long time (fifteen years, to be exact) it seemed as if we were destined only to be puppy parents.

When our little miracle arrived, my hubby was a natural. As a teacher, former teenage babysitter, and general baby lover, my hubby did not have the experience with children I do. However, he was a diaper-changing, song singing, swaddling superstar in no time.¬†Due to my ability to manufacture our daughter’s food supply, there has been a natural reliance upon mom since birth. My daughter has been diligent enough to double-check her dad’s ¬†ability to produce “gulk”. Yet her nocturnal gumming of his arms have proved fruitless. And so, my husband and my daughter have found other ways to bond.

Reason #514 my husband is a fantastic father: Nobody can make her giggle the way Dada can.

Nobody can make her giggle the way her father can

When my principal asked me to attend a conference out-of-state, I said yes, partly because I have this crazy impulse to always agree to everything (something I am working on) and partly because I was very interested in the topic of the conference and the speakers. Most of all, I knew my husband and my daughter would be just fine without me.

As the trip approached, I was riddled with “mom guilt” over leaving. I work from home and thus my daughter and I are attached at the hip…literally. How could I leave her…OVERNIGHT?! My husband assured me that he would keep our daughter so busy watching Frozen on a continuous loop , playing dress up, and filling up an entire Color Wonder:Disney Princess Enchanted Coloring Book (bless you, Crayola!) that Madeline would have no time to even think about missing me.

Reason #782 my husband is a fantastic father: He can belt out every word of the Frozen soundtrack, applauds every costume change, and takes coloring extremely seriously.

Daddy Pic 5

Dada’s Color Wonder Picture of Ariel

It was finally the day of my trip. I had been preparing my daughter by talking to her about how mommy was going to go on an airplane to go and learn new and exciting things. I explained that I would be back before she knew it and that she would have a blast playing with Dada. I thought I had just about convinced myself that it was going to be okay until she began whimpering when I got out of the car at the airport.

My daughter quickly recovered with a Dada/Daughter car ride sing-a-long of “The Wheels on the Bus.” I, however, wheeled my suitcase to the airline counter while sobbing uncontrollably. I had brought my suitcase rather than on a carry-on to accommodate my Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote, but believe me that little machine pretty much saved my life.

Reason #953 my husband is a fantastic father: He once helped me attempt to manually express breast milk and after we both exhausted ourselves, he bought me the best breast pump money can buy.

At the counter, perhaps due to incoherent ramblings about leaving my daughter, the ticket agent sent me to the wrong gate. I nearly missed my flight, but my fabulous co-workers were able to track me down and alert the crew that I was missing. Bleary-eyed and heartsick, one of my co-workers wisely advised me that this trip would be good for me, my daughter, and my husband. She explained that moms need time to themselves and this trip would be an opportunity for Daddy and daughter to deepen and strengthen their bond.

These words of mommy wisdom still in my ears, I Face Timed my husband and daughter upon arrival and both were snuggling contentedly, reading bedtime stories. Intellectually, I knew they would be fine, but seeing them together made my heart happy.

At lunch the next day, I called home to check on my two favorite people. My husband reluctantly informed me that my daughter had been up all night throwing up. I burst into tears. He assured me that she would be just fine and urged me to focus on the conference. My principal took one look at my face after our lunch break and told me it was completely okay to go home. A mom herself, she said, “Dad’s can totally do it, but when your baby is sick, they just need Mama.” I booked the next flight home.

in her father's arms

By the time I arrived home, my daughter was severely dehydrated, but she was calm and content. Dad handled the stomach flu crisis like a champ, but Mom has the ability to cure dehydration and ease a tender tummy with the all-powerful Mama’s milk. “We would have been fine,” my husband whispered to me that evening. “But I sure am glad you are home!”

Reason #1,047 my husband is a fantastic father: He appreciates his daughter’s mother.

When my daughter recovered, she helpfully took me on a tour of the house and pointed out each and every location in which she was sick. Then, she explained how Dada cleaned it all up and gave her lots of hugs. Whenever, she sees a plane fly above she takes my hand and escorts me on the same tour. At first, I thought she was trying to reinforce my mom guilt (like I need help, kid). Then I realized that what sticks out in her memory is how Dada took care of her.

Reason #1,226 my husband is a fantastic father: He makes my daughter feel safe.

To my husband this Father’s day, you are king of the castle! Thank you for all that you do. Long may you reign.

An Ode to My Daughter's Father