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my daddy and my baby-daddy

February 28, 2013

I stumbled across this Facebook page today: Becoming Dad.  I cried all morning, looking at the photos of dads and their babies.  I could blame hormones, but that’s too easy.  There are two reasons it made me emotional.

76393_1714228900440_5886874_nFirst, today happens to be my dad’s birthday.  He joined the Navy when I was a year old, so there were long stretches of time when he was away from home, and his job meant our family moved around, but I can’t imagine having a dad who managed a grocery store or did taxes for a living.  I can’t think of the ocean without connecting it to my dad, the sailor and the surfer.  He was a good model of hard work -on Saturdays, I remember him being up early, washing windows and pulling weeds.   I think I got my love of musical theater from him too; he introduced me to Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita.  Also, he instilled in me a love of the Beach Boys, macadamia nuts, and Married…With Children (somehow, a staple in our house in the early 90s for which I still have great, inappropriate fondness).  When I was little, I had a little toy stove and I “made” my dad “coffee.”  I insisted it was Maxwell House (marketing is infectious at that age, I guess).  I also had a made-up word that I’d whisper to him, “tadidas.”  It means nothing.

Here’s my favorite story about my dad:  I was in first grade.  My class had a bunny.  Each weekend, the kids took turns taking the bunny home to feed it and take care of it and then return it to the classroom on Monday mornings.  It was my turn.   My dad had been doing yardwork, shirtless, when the bunny escaped.  The bunny managed to wiggle under the fence into the neighbor’s yard, so my dad had to go around the block to their house and ask to get into their yard to retrieve him.  I was panicking, thinking I couldn’t go to school bunny-less.  My dad returned 20 minutes later, his chest bleeding from bunny scratches, with the rabbit dangling by the scruff of his neck.  It was a horrific scene that has burned into my memory:  my bloody dad, panting, holding a squirming rabbit.  But I guess that’s what you do when you’re a dad. (Note: no bunny was harmed in this scenario)

Getting some practice with a friend's cute kiddo.

My husband, getting some practice with a friend’s cute kiddo.

Second, I got emotional because I can’t help but think of my husband and what kind of father he will be.  Our baby is due the day after Father’s Day, so it’s exciting to see if he’ll officially be a father by then or not.  It’s been fun to see him react to all the changes of impending parenthood, it’s something that really reinforces the bond we already had.  Although he has no experience with babies, he has a lot of traits that will make him a natural – he is gentle, patient, and affectionate.   We had our second of ten childbirth class sessions last night, and he’s a total champ, helping with exercises and encouragement.

I can’t wait to see these men as father and grandfather.  Maybe the baby will have my dad’s red hair and freckles.  Maybe she will shame me by liking country music like her dad.  Maybe he’ll golf like my husband, maybe he’ll surf like my dad.  I just know that my child will have two great men who love him or her very much.

Tadidas and Happy Birthday to my dad.


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