Sunday, June 17, 2007

"Dad," such a loaded word for me. For 33 years I struggled with my dad. I found dads I liked better, but one by one they died. Nobody was left to re-teach me, or rather, help me un-learn my lessons on what a dad was or wasn't.

When I first met my husband, he was unemployed, living with his parents, and had a perm. I couldn't get enough of him. I chased him for six years until I wore him down and got him to marry me. I knew, "knew" knew, he would be a wonderful father. I had only to look to his own to be further convinced. His father was everything I'd every wanted in my own; gentle, kind, loving, patient, supportive and unconditional with his love. I knew my unemployed, curly-haired boyfriend had all that in him and a little bit more.

When I first told my husband I was pregnant, he was ambivalent. He didn't feel ready. Fortunately, our daughter was born and her first year of life was pretty idyllic. "We've got this parenting thing DOWN," we both thought. "We're pretty much the best parents ever. Look how our daughter sticks to a good sleeping schedule and our lives go on with nary a hiccup."

"We want two kids, right?" my husband said to me one night.

"Right," I answered.

Nine months later we brought our son into the family.

Overnight we went from having it all under control to having nothing even resembling control. Out-of-control, chaos, disequilibrium and frenzy defined our lives.

Trial by fire, they say, and that was the story for us. It'll burn you alive or all the crap will burn away, and only the purest and strongest will remain. All that was pure and strong in my husband remained. Every single belief he held sacred, every "way" of being was challenged and put through the fire. Great wisdom and deep compassion resulted.

Today my husband and I are in the middle of a carefully coreographed passing of the baton. I have been the at-home parent for 13 years, he has been the one "out in the world." Today my husband fully appreciates which of those two jobs is considered "full-time" and which one is 24/7, 365 x 13. It is my turn. It is his turn. It is our children's turn for a new sheriff in town. The town is ready for a new sheriff, the old one has grown tired and bitter. The new sheriff is ready to shake things up. There will be some job re-shuffling, some re-organization, some things I once considered crucial will cease to make the list. Some things I felt weren't worth the effort will make their way up the list. Some things won't change at all. My husband will say what he means and mean what he says. His boundaries will remain, despite resistance. His list of non-negotiables will remain firm, yet short. His heart will remain wide and soft.

I knew my husband would make a great father. I underestimated him.

Happy Father's Day, Love.


Kim said...

Such a beautiful post! There's nothing more romantic. What a wonderful man you've got there--and you deserve nothing less!

jennifer said...

"only the purest and strongest wil remain...look at your word choice. Nice work, Link (s) and a well deserved for the Lord of the Manor!

Sue said...

Such a touching post ...

(But I'm trying to picture Stan with a perm.)

Still on a high from our weekend.

All my gratitude and ... love.

Eileen said...

This post is so well written, and it went right to my heart. It says so much about a father's deep love for his children and your trust in him to let the new sheriff come into town. Very touching Father's Day tribute.XOXO

kario said...

You guys are the best! So happy for you. I love the image of him permed, unemployed, living at home. My own prince was shaggy-haired, wore coke-bottle glasses and was the president of a fraternity - who knew?

naomi said...

...wonderful post...perfectly captured the contrast between the innocence of the chillin' perm days and the shock and struggle of raising special needs children. Stan sounds like a guy who doesn't run from fire. Definately worth 6 years of chasing!

Anonymous said...

Stan Packs RULES!