With the research linking a variety of negative outcomes to the rise in dead beat dads, absentee fathers, and the like, and in the face of a media that seems obsessed with presenting a caricature of fathers as dimwitted goofballs always deferring to their infinitely more competent wives, I’d like to recognize the truly exceptional fathers of the world and be a voice for putting Dad back on his pedestal — right next to Mom.
I’d like to offer a little love to the dads out there who make our jobs a little (or a whole lot) easier. So with my own husband in mind, I extend this top 10 list of thanks to all the dads who are doing it right. You are more than competent, you are incomparable and irreplaceable.
I still can’t believe you sprained your wrist from rubbing my lower back with a tennis ball when I fancied the idea of natural childbirth with our first child. I ended up laboring with our large-headed, overdue and posterior child for over 30 hours, and you were there for every single minute of it. You were a life saver then and you are a life saver now.
You change diapers, burp babies, cook up some mean spaghetti, try to make decent ponytails, and wrap up unfinished housework when needed — all without guilt-tripping me when I had my own tough day at home.
You even sleep on the side of the bed closest to the door so the kids will wake you up first when they have a nightmare.
After enduring almost a decade of difficult training when you probably would have liked a quick and easy “good enough” job after college, you get up and go to work every day to provide for our family even when you don’t feel like it, even when you have a raging headache, and even when you don’t find it personally fulfilling. Thank you. Thank you.
You’ve refereed our son’s soccer team, done presentations at the elementary school for Career Day, chaperoned overnight school activities, hauled harps from one location to another, and gone without dinner straight from work to attend orchestra concerts, dance recitals and school plays. Our children notice.
You take our children on errands with you when it would be faster and easier to go by yourself.
You help them with their homework projects in the evening when you could be in your man cave reading a good book.
You involve the kids in your personal hobbies because you hope they will love them too and that you will always have something in common to do together.
Your sacrifices will pay off.
Thanks to you, our children are interested in everything from archeology to bonsai trees. And you support them in whatever interests them as well. From skateboarding to stained-glass art, our children know you’re behind them and their dreams 100 percent.
You take them on challenging outdoor adventures that not only provide them opportunities to appreciate nature but also to develop self-confidence. You don’t give into their whining when they want to avoid doing something difficult, and you handle their physical pain much better than I do.
You’re the go-to parent whether one of our children needs to take a trip to the hospital or just needs a shot of encouragement.
You’ve been by the side of each of our children as they’ve learned how to swim, ride a bike, climb a mountain, perform on stage and face a bully. You will always be their first hero.
You can cut the tension between me and the kids with your sense of humor when it’s obvious I’m at the end of my rope.
You prod them along when there’s a project to be done at home and I’m worn out from prodding them just to clean their rooms.
You bring me back to reality when I’m stewing irrational thoughts in my head about all the ways I’m ruining our children.
You speak to me with courtesy and respect, showing our kids how to do the same. You thank me for dinner, even if it’s something as simple as a frozen heat-and-eat meal, and take me out for dinner and adult conversation whenever you get the chance.
It’s been said that the greatest gift a father can give to his children is to love his mother, and I’d say you’ve got that one covered.
As strong as you are in our children’s eyes, you have always made it clear where that strength comes from. You’ve taught them to rely on God in all things and to live by tried and true principles of happiness. Because of that, I can rest assured that our children will always find success in the things that matter most — just like you have.
Like yelling from the sidelines in your work clothes, and snuggling the kids to sleep while telling your own made-up stories, and picking things up from the grocery store on your way home from work, and taking our hard-to-shop-for teenager clothes shopping, and sewing up the torn baby bunny doll clothes for our young daughter, and being there every day of our children’s lives like a sentinel, a lighthouse and a guidepost.