Father. Dad. Daddy. Pops. Papa. Papi. It is more than a title. It is a gift you give your child. A gift that keeps on giving through all stages of your child’s life. Subconsciously, we date, engage, and marry someone sharing characteristics of our parents, whether they were present or absent. I am blessed with a great father. This fact gave me an upper hand in knowing that men like my dad are out there, men who could one day morph into rockstar dads.
I Thought He Hung the Moon
My dad was a provider and protector of the family. My dad worked blue collar jobs and we always had something, even if we truly didn’t have anything. He was the master mechanic with a kind heart, who would accept household items in payment for fixing a friend’s car. We didn’t go on lavish vacations, but I never felt deprived. We took hot road trips in the summer to locations that families didn’t typically vacation. Relatives admired him because of his family loyalty, not only to his kids but his wife too. I was almost an adult when I started to realize my dad’s strength as a family man.
Growing up, there were always Latino men selling ice cream from a cart on foot in my neighborhood. One summer, my father saw the same man walking the hot streets day after day. A native of Venezuela, my father had a soft spot for immigrants. After talking with the man for a while, my dad disappeared into the house and brought him a loose, long-sleeve shirt and cap. He told him that he would stay cooler if he was protected from the sun. He pleaded with the man to stop by our house whenever he needed water, while on his daily trek.
Another time, a woman stood outside her car with her hazards on. My dad pulled over and told me to stay in the car, locking the doors behind him. I hopped into the back seat and tried to spy on the action. A few minutes later, my dad was back in the car attempting to jump start her battery. No luck, it was completely dead. We drove to an auto-body shop and my dad bought her a new battery. I watched as he installed it for her while she wept and told him she did not have any money. He comforted her with words. Throughout my childhood, my father showed me compassion, love, and humanity in various ways. He set the stage for me one day finding a husband with these qualities.
My Amazing Dad Helped Me Find a Wonderful Partner
When we first began dating, my husband always paid the bridge toll of the person behind us. I thought he did this to impress me, but it turns out he did this long before I was in the picture. Once a family fiercely tried to catch up to us on the Bay Bridge frantically waving their hands in thanks. Passing on random kindness is one of my husband’s best qualities, and it is quite contagious.
I did not think my husband could love me more than he did, but once we became parents he loved me even harder. My husband is a problem solver always focused on making things better, more productive, or smoother for our family.
Five days into being new parents and I was feeling overwhelmed with emotions, sleep deprived, and had a bit of the postpartum blues. My husband responded by stepping up to take over tasks, even at two a.m., and always with a smile. He let me cry when I needed to, poured me a beer when I craved a cold one, and brought snacks while I stuck with a baby on my boob. He was always a good man, but now that he is the father to our boys, I love him harder.
My husband is on bath duty every night, makes batches of waffles for the week, and never says ‘no’ to changing diapers – even the ones that will knock you into next week. He reminds our boys to treat me with respect, and occupies them when I need a break. (I would call him a Superdad, but I don’t want him to get a big head.)
It really is a lifelong gift
Eventually my boys will be in the position that I am in right now. They will reflect on all the experiences they had with their parents, they will take all the good and some of the bad, and this is how they will parent. With my husband for a father, I am confident they will both be rockstar dads!