Huffpost Parents
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Carissa K Headshot

He's a Good Dad

Posted: Updated:
Print
Carissa K
Carissa K

He's a good dad.

He helps them plant a garden, plays catch and chases behind them as they learn to ride a bike.

He's a good dad.

He memorizes the names of their teachers, Star Wars ships and Shel Silverstein poems.

He's a good dad.

He has a standing bet with them when their rival baseball teams play one another. The stakes are high since the winner gets to choose the milkshake flavor as the victory treat.

He's a good dad.

2013-06-13-dad2.jpg

He abides by the unspoken line that's been drawn in our parenting team strategy. I plan, he executes. He assesses, I jump.

He takes them fishing and camping, I do trips to the museum and theatre. I schedule the appointments and he checks the wiggly teeth. While I swoop in with a kiss for a boo-boo, he swoops in with a band-aid. He studies the wound up close and declares that the injury isn't in need of stitches. Without taking one look at the cut, I'm already starting the car and phoning the ER.

He's a good dad.

Together we are one part keepers of the magic, and one part disciplinarians. We hide elves during the holidays and distribute time-outs all year long.

He's a good dad.

He is just as interested in their report card and test scores as I am.

While there are times when I wish he'd be more selective with the battles he picks, he cares enough to have an opinion. Better to choose too many battles, than none at all.

He's a good dad.

He plays along when they tell him he looks like Daddy Warbucks and smiles when princesses Belle and Ariel serve him imaginary tea.

He's a good dad.

He coaches their teams and times their swim meets.

He hasn't been able to watch a news story about a tragedy involving children since ours were born. While I, on the other hand, am drawn to such stories as if subjecting myself to suffering can somehow relieve others of theirs. Even knowing this I can't help but tell him details, he simply shakes his head no to quiet me.

He's a good dad.

When our son was in the NICU as a newborn, he'd wake every two hours to phone the nurses for an update and then stay up to sterilize bottles and tubes, so I could pump and keep my milk supply going.

He's a good dad.

Without clergy available and knowing such a thing is possible in our faith, he baptized our son as he was rushed into emergency surgery at the ripe old age of three days.

When we later learned that our son had food allergies, he educated himself enough to learn small details like the difference between potassium lactate and sodium lactate. He has attended every allergy appointment in the years that have followed. He holds our son while he gets his blood drawn. I steady myself in the hallway and conceal my own tears.

He's a good dad.

He is the only other person who really understands what it was like to unexpectedly lose our second child just days before she was to be born.

Just as I labored and delivered our child, so did he. His grief caused him to fall and stumble to the ground just as hard as I fell, and he worked just as ferociously to climb his way back up. He continues to miss her everyday, just as much as I do.

He's a good dad.

When deciding if we had the strength to continue to try to grow our family, he kept files on international adoptions and attended uncomfortable fertility-based medical appointments.

He gently explained that while he hoped for a big family, he respected that I would be agreeing to put my body through more pregnancies.

He's a good dad.

During those subsequent pregnancies, he made countless middle-of-the-night drives to the hospital when we needed reassurance, worried about every lack of fetal movement. Never once telling me I was overreacting, he sat in dark parking lots, idling a mini-van and tending to our young children while, in the hospital windows above, I sat hooked up to a fetal heart monitor at 2:00, 3:00... 4:00 am.

He's a good dad.

When our subsequent daughters were born he laughed and wept to the point that the doctors had to reassure him that the sound of a baby's cry was a good sound. Having known the anguish of hearing silence when a baby emerges from her mother, he choked out his response, "I know...I know." He understands just what a miracle it is when a baby's birth is accompanied by the sound of her cry.

He's a good dad.

He indulges in crazy road trips and travel ideas. He has the patience for Disney World and Niagara Falls, as well as the interest for London and New York.

He's a good dad.

He works hard so they can play hard. And he works hard so we can play hard with them.

He's a good dad.

He views parenthood with enough realism to to survive it, with enough humor to enjoy it, and with enough perspective to be grateful for it.

He's a good dad.

He calls them nicknames like "Dog Breath" and after I urge him to do so, he softens it to "Stinky Toes," though maintaining the harsher version is toughening them up.

When discussing social dynamics, I tell them to walk away, he agrees. Then whispers "but hey, don't be the one to start it, but be the one to end it"

He's a good dad.

He is the keeper of the only other set of eyes that welcomed our children to the world with as much anticipation as my own. He is also the keeper of the only other heart that will both swell and break with their every accomplishment and defeat.

He is the only other person who is as deeply amused and equally frustrated with these little maniacs as I am.

He's a good dad.

He makes pancakes for them on Saturday mornings and popcorn for them on movie nights. He teaches them how to play Euchre and Trouble and talks during Career Day at their schools.

He's a good dad.

He is the co-parent of my three favorite people. He is exactly one half of both their nature and their nurture and one of the biggest forces in shaping their legacy.

He's a good dad.

He'll go bananas when he realizes I wrote and published this. But just like everything else, once he settles into the idea, he'll smile.

He's a good dad.

He treats them well. He treats me well. He treats his friends and parents well. He treats the earth well and treats people well.

He's a good person.

And he's a good dad.

2013-06-13-dad.jpg

This post originally appeared on www.carissak.com. To read more follow Carissa K on facebook at www.facebook.com/carissakwriter, and on twitter @CarissaK.