I think Father's Day can easily get a bad rap. I tend to surf around the feminist blogosphere a bit, and I've noticed a lot of articles this week about fathers: how good they are, how bad they are, how some of them are mad that they don't get the hoopla and presents that mothers do on Mother's Day.
One thing I haven't noticed is any mention of the guys that want to be dads but aren't, for whatever reason. So much of parenthood is focused on moms, and that's true about the road to parenthood, too. It makes sense. For people who build their families through having biological children the process is just naturally pretty mom-focused. After all, the dads-to-be aren't growing a person inside them, dealing with hormones and weight gain and the crazy-scary-amazing labor of giving birth. They play a supporting role through most of that.
And then there is the trope deeply embedded in our culture that men don't long for children the way women do. Some of them don't, I suppose. But, to be fair, there are women who don't long for children either. And there are men who do. Our culture doesn't assume that men without children are less than whole, they way it does with women. But there are men who feel that way, supporting role or no. There are men who also deal with impossible situations, who choose not to be dads, who have lost little ones and yet somehow carry on through a day that must feel like salt in those wounds.
I don't know how much my father longed for kids, although my parents did have some trouble when they first tried starting a family. I get the impression that the depth of his love for my brother and me sort of surprised him. At least, he wasn't very comfortable showing a lot of feelings to us when we were little. But as I grew up my shy quiet father came out of his shell, started saying "I love you" and "I miss you," once I left home. Even today, when I called him to say Happy Fathers Day and our conversation inevitably turned towards financial planning and home projects (I learned my craftiness from him) I noticed that when he and I talk about the challenges in my life he still says "we." As in "what we should do about that is" or "what we can do is..." Because no matter how old I get we're in this life thing together. I love that. I love him, too. It's wonderful that we can say it out loud.
I'm so excited about what Andrew has to offer our family as a dad. He's the sort of man who will learn how to braid a little girl's hair just to show that he can, make glorious messes while baking birthday cupcakes, and take pride in being just as invested and involved in the minutia of our child's life as I am. He understands even better than I do how to be playful. He did some research into the effect of music on the developing human brains and is already developing an appropriate playlist.
But I have a feeling we'll never make much fuss over Father's Day. Not because he doesn't deserve fuss but because he doesn't like it. Parties and presents and onesies that say I heart Daddy aren't really my guy's cup of tea. He'd rather play a game, or guitar, make you some cupcakes, or watch Star Wars.
So I won't wish him Happy Father's Day -he'd just roll his eyes. But man - someday he'll be one of the two best dads I know.