06/20/2015 04:16 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Thanks to All the Heroes Who Go by the Name of Daddy


He will tell you that his hands are pretty full.

He would easily say that almost every single day of his life that he's simply exhausted.

He admits that his stress level is higher than it probably should be at times.

He would express his frustration that most of the time -- ok, almost all of the time -- it's not about him anymore; that his time has disappeared for more than likely the next 18 years.

He grudgingly knows that his wife isn't all fully his anymore, and that he has to share her four times over.

But then he would also tell you his heart is even fuller than his hands are, being a father to all of these babies.

He would tell you that the exhaustion is worth it as he hears, "Daddy" called out every single morning, and cried through each night.

He admits that despite being too hard on himself, as he looks at his children, he sees the perfect in him that God has blessed him with.

He can't quite convey to others just how much his entire world changed the day he held his first daughter in his arms. And no, he will not even let me into that part of his heart as he crumbles when our baby reaches out to him, holding on so tightly, never wanting to let go.

But what he will never admit, or even fully know, is just how much he's he's simply adored by four little people.

No, he'd never admit that he's a hero.

But, every single day, when he crawls out of bed, ready to battle through another day...

Every single day as he drives off to work...

Every evening as he walks through that door, knowing that there are hours ahead of him tag teaming dinner, dishes, baths, diapers and the never ending tuck ins...

Every single night as he brushes teeth, reads books, says prayers and attempts the tucking in of babies tightly into beds (which they never end up staying in anyways)...

Every time that he moves over in bed through the wee hours of the morning for another little toddler to sneak into bed, stealing his spot and his covers...

He doesn't realize it, but as he shows up, does more than he's expected to, does what he doesn't always want to do, but does it anyways...for them...

...that not only is he their hero, but mine, too.

I prayed for this man since I was a little girl. I would kneel in my bedroom and thanked God for the family that He would give me someday.

And without a doubt, this man... this incredible man... was my answer.

And as much as I love being a mother, I may even love watching him be a father more.

Happy Father's Day to all of the heroes out there who go by the name of Daddy.

To follow Long and her Paid Parental Leave advocacy, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter.