Disclaimer: Caitlin, you need a kleenex. I know how sensitive you can be. xoxo
At least until the baby comes, it seems like most of the attention regarding the impending arrival revolves around the mother-to-be. Case in point, this morning my best friend is hosting a baby shower for the new baby, with me as the incubating guest of honor. And Dave will be in the basement with her husband, putting up a vapor barrier. Whatever that means.
In a way, it makes sense since I am the one literally carrying the baby in my body and I’ll also be entrusted with the task of pushing it out. Even though Dave is just as responsible for the existence of the baby, I doubt that he has been fielding many questions about whether the baby will be breast-fed or whether I’ll be having a water birth (I won’t, because I don’t like goo in water). No one asks him much, from what I’ve noticed, except when they are asking about me or the baby specifically. Unless you count some of his really hilarious friends who pose questions like ‘Ready for the rest of your life to be over?’ or ‘Are you going to stay up near her head while it comes out…down there?’ Very helpful fellas.
Once the baby is here, to the wider world he will finally be solidified in his position as ‘dad’, while it seems everyone already considers me a ‘mom.’ Hopefully soon I won’t feel the need to put those words in quotations. But when I think about the baby, even my pregnancy, I have to say that Dave comes up in almost all of those thoughts. He is already a dad, the dad to our baby, the father of my child. And when I say those words, type those words, my heart swells up. What a lucky baby this is, what a lucky mom I will be.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in some kind of pregnancy-induced insanity where everything is rainbows and cotton-candy and Dave is the perfect man. He’s no more the perfect husband than I am the perfect wife, and he won’t be the perfect dad. No such thing, in fact. But I know enough about him, about us, about what’s coming to know he’s going to be pretty awesome.
One reason I’m so sure that Dave will be a good dad, is because I know one when I see one. Moms seem to get a lot of the glory (and most of the blame) for their children, and our moms are no exception. They’re strong and funny and smart and loving. But neither of them did it alone, and Dave and I both grew up with awesome dads.
I have the kind of dad that taught little girls to be whatever they want. He played with Barbies and taught us to drive a boat and put barrettes in our hair and showed me the importance of learning the knots that the Boy Scouts teach. He showed us honesty and trusted our judgement and gave us an example of how we should want a man to treat us. He never made me feel like he wished he had a son, he always made me know we were the perfect kids for him.
Dave had the kind of dad that taught him that the world is wonderful and mysterious. He showed him a passion for sports, a love of literature, a respect for women, especially your mother. He pushed him and encourages him and above all else, loves him and isn’t afraid to say it because he’s the kind of dad that is man enough to teach his son that showing emotion and professing devotion are manly things to do.
With these examples so close at hand to draw from, Dave is already ahead of the game. He’s a hybrid of these philosophies and of his own experiences and tendencies. Dave won’t be disappointed if we have a girl (I’m always shocked and saddened when I hear of future dads who say they will be), Dave doesn’t think changing diapers or wiping faces or doing laundry is women’s work. Even before the hormones took things up a notch, Dave has always been the perfect antidote to my tendency towards crazy mood swings. On a practical level, Dave as a father is any woman’s dream because he sees that as an active role, a title of privilege, a call to action. And is willing to deal in poop issues, which is pretty major from what I understand.
On an emotional level, Dave is sensitive and fun-loving and optimistic. He sees wonder in small things, he knows the immense and important benefits of hugging it out, he believes in you and wants people to know how he feels. And as annoying as it can be at times, he is wonderfully child-like. Are we on a walk in the woods, or are we running through the forest hiding from the bad guys and throwing pretend grenades at their leaders? Are we grocery shopping, or is this a timed challenge to see who can find each item on the list the fastest and with the best price? Dave sees life as a game, a really fun game, and this viewpoint will make him the kind of dad our kids want to show-off to their friends.
At the baby shower today, Dave won’t be the main event. He isn’t going to dress up (but he will be really supportive as I squeeze my ever-swelling body into something that resembles my Sunday best) and no one will be fawning over his baby bump (which he doesn’t have, because he is INCREDIBLY jacked, right honey?) and many of the gifts won’t have his name on them. But he’ll be there, in spirit as my partner and Baby B’s dad, but also literally in the basement helping our friends install a barrier for vapors. And he’ll probably have to carry the gifts to the car. And he’ll be there later, when I am swearing at this baby (it can’t understand me yet, I checked) for making my feet swell up and the bile rises in my throat and when I have an emergency requiring chocolate chips and an apple sliced just-so at 2a.m. And he’ll be there when it counts, every time it counts, because he knows we’re counting on him.