My husband must belong to Baby Bear. You know, Baby Bear of Three Bear fame? Goldilocks tried out the chairs, the beds and the porridge of three bears and each time Baby Bear's possessions where a perfect fit for that fair blonde trespasser.
Last night as we lie in the dark hoping the dog's neurotic pacing up and down the hallway would not wake the baby, I whispered to my dear man, "You know what? You're the perfect Dad."
He was quiet. So quiet, in fact, I thought that perhaps only *I* was hoping the dog's neurotic pacing wasn't going to awaken the baby. I thought that surely the man was asleep. But he wasn't. He was stunned into silence. Just as I was nestling into the soft feathers beneath me I heard him whisper back, "I'm not perfect."
But he is.
Ok, so fine, he's not perfect in the literal sense. He has faults. He makes mistakes. Sometimes he can tick me off more than my insane dog. So no, he's not perfect as in pristine. He's perfect in the way a fine tailored suit fits the body of its owner. He fits our family like the proverbial glove.
But its more than that.
The perfect Dad has his moments. Sometimes he makes his kids angry. He loses his temper on occasion. He makes his wife fall into a swirling fit of irritation once and a while. He can be absentminded and/or preoccupied. He can burn dinner. He has forgotten, once or twice, to call when he's going to be late.
Yet, he's adoring. He sees his children for the beautiful souls they are. He loves them because of their faults, not in spite of them. He takes the time to thank his wife for the job she does - raising their children, keeping their home, loving him. He recognizes the challenge being "mom" is and praises her often for handling it well.
He works hard, not just at his career, but at the things that keep the household going - mowing the lawn, doing the dishes, changing the diapers. He forfeits Saturday golfing because its more important to him to have time with his offspring than with his putter. He reads each night to a child. He hugs and kisses away boo-boos and fears.
He cheers when a child uses the bathroom. He claps when a baby fakes a cough. He gets up from the table and handles the dishes without being nagged into it. He assumes laundry duty each week - even though he detests the whole process of getting the family clothes crisply clean.
The perfect Dad whisks his son off for a ride on a Transit train just because his son loves trains. They don't go anywhere but up two stations and back. Its for the ride not the destination and Dad knows his child well enough to know that this is all that matters to the boy.
The perfect Dad works at putting tights on his squirming, rolling, gigging, ticklish daughter because he knows that the family is running late and his wife is too busy convincing their son that he really can't take his entire collection of trucks to church.
He'd rather spend a warm summer evenings lying in the grass with both children strewn across his midsection than hanging out on the softball field with the guys. He cherishes those moments of staring up at the clouds trying to locate one that looks like a T-rex.
To him, the biggest compliment is hearing his preschooler sigh and say "Some day, when I'm a big man, I'm going to be a Daddy." He melts when his baby girl smiles at him, grabs his face with her fat fingers and squeals "DaDa!"
He's forgotten that an adult really can eat dinner without feeding one a child on side of him and cajoling a child on the other side of him to just *try* one bite. He's forgotten what its like to 'sleep-in.' He's forgotten that a person really can use the bathroom in his own home without a pint-sized audience. He's sacrificed his peace for his children.
He can be found laying on the floor, surrounded by toys, making the sound of a train. He's seen holding a stuffed, pink doll with yellow yarn braids - he bounces it as if it walks and he talks in as high a voice as his male voice box allows him to as he says, "Hello, Megan!"
He hugs his wife close and he says to her "I'm sorry you had a rough day. What can I do to help?" He encourages her to excel at all she attempts. He comforts her when she needs it, even when she doesn't realize that she does. He sends her off to the spa at just the right time. He says "I'll watch the kids, you go out."
He doesn't have to be pristine. He's everything his family needs and then some. He's love. He's foundation. He's glue. He's theirs. He's mine. He's ours.
We're Goldilocks and he's everything Baby Bear has.
Happy Father's Day.