As a working mom, I often write about how I am overworked at work and at home and don't get all of the help that I would like. While those things are true, this Fathers' Day I have to acknowledge that Andre is an amazing father and one of the great joys of my life has been watching Andre father our daughter...
He was there when she was born doing everything it took to bring her into the world. From that moment on, he has been engaged and protective of her. He mastered swaddling because he understood that sleep was essential for baby and mommy. He quickly learned how to change diapers, feed her and clothe her. He has mastered the art of pony tails.
A Devoted Father
He has even changed her diaper in public restrooms all over the country. One of the funniest times involved the three of us visiting my alma mater, The University of Virginia. The toddler needed a diaper change. I was willing to wait until we returned to the hotel, but Andre thought the poopy diaper needed to be changed immediately. So, he took her to the restroom. The "situation" wound up being my messier than anticipated and all of her clothes were ruined. Because we're such good parents, we had been walking around grounds without her diaper bag and had no change of clothes. He had to keep her naked in bathroom while I went in search of an outfit in the bookstore. I am confident that they were a very funny site to all of the men who came in there while they were waiting for me! Now, the toddler is the proud owner of a pink UVA sweat suit that cost about $50 (highway robbery) and Andre is a dad who has proven that his daughter, and not his pride, are what matters most.
When I leave town for business trips, while I may worry that the laundry won't get done, I never worry about my daughter. If she is with her father, she is happy and well taken care of. That's not to say that she gets everything that she wants though. People always assume that Andre's affection for her blinds his judgment but it doesn't. He is stern with her when needed and is committed to teaching her discipline.
He teaches her things that I might not. As her mother I tend to be more protective and nurturing. In contrast, Andre believes that often her tears can be cured with a stern word and encouragement for her to try again. "Don't cry, try!"
He teaches her how to be self-sufficient by making her clean up after herself. He teaches her to trust herself by encouraging her to climb the rock wall at the playground. He teaches her self-control by not allowing her to throw tantrums when she is unhappy (sometimes that doesn't work so well though...)
Daddy's Little Girl
It is clear from the moment Andre walks in the door and is greeted by a loud and enthusiastic, "Daddy!", open arms, and a small child sprinting towards him that my daughter is and remains, "Daddy's Little Girl".
I am humbled and honored to share this parenting journey with him, even if we disagree on a few things... :-)
Here is a link to a Fathers' Day poem I wrote a couple of years ago. It's my gift to all of the fathers today! Father's Day Poem