With the exception of arranged marriages or the (ever-mysterious) mail-order matrimonial setup, I think it’s safe to say that most of us took our husbands for a good test drive—to one extent or another— before saying “I do.” Aaron and I were married, and pregnant, within a year and a half of meeting each other, and although we moved quickly (I really did know he was ‘the one’ almost at the outset), we moved in together first. When I donned my engagement ring, I already knew from experience how our lives would merge, from how we’d cook and eat meals together to how we’d approach our finances. But while we’d talked about working kids into the picture, there wasn’t really any way of knowing what kind of father my husband would be. I strongly suspected that he’d be a loving, hands-on and engaged dad, though. As it turns out, he has been just that, from the moment Kaspar was born.
My own parents came to visit some weeks ago, and my dad, while clearly pleased as punch to spend time with his new grandson, remarked with surprise that Kaspar “sleeps, wakes up, eats, poops, and sleeps again… it’s like an ongoing cycle!” Aaron, my mom and I all looked at each other, then looked back at him. I said “Well, yeah. That’s what babies do, Dad.” I realized then that, although my dad was very much present in my life when I was a kid, my mom was the primary caretaker in terms of the day-to-day diapering and beyond. This was typical among our peers, and has probably been so across nearly every culture into the remote past. The trend toward “co-parenting” has been ushered in by new structures and expectations at the heart of marriages and family life. Every couple divvies up the parenting duties in different ways, and caring for a tiny, demanding person while getting precious little sleep can be stressful on individuals and couples alike. While we have each certainly had our moments, parenting together has already brought us closer, and I really do feel that I have a co-parent in my spouse. Watching Aaron become a father and develop in that role has made me appreciate him in all kinds of new ways.
My husband, as it turns out, is a paternal powerhouse; he not only changes diapers like a pro, but he is Kaspar’s all-day entertainment system for two full days each week. I love coming home from work and seeing the two of them… um… looking at each other (Kaspar’s only four months old, so, that’s kind of the extent of it). They have their own relationship already, and while it’s tempting sometimes, as the mom, to swoop in and take over when the baby starts fussing, I remind myself that Aaron is entirely capable of addressing Kaspar’s needs, too, and sometimes it’s best to let them sort it out.
So, Sunday is Father’s Day—Aaron’s first—and I’m feeling the pressure (let’s be honest; Father’s Day, when the baby’s this small, is on me). I want to make some memories! I’ve placed an order through a friend who’s something of a whiskey connoisseur for a rare bottle of something really good (I am obviously not a connoisseur in this respect… but Aaron appreciates good bourbon). I’ve also arranged for some outdoor grilling with our Brooklyn friends on Sunday afternoon— Aaron’s the only dad among them, so he can really be feted without sharing the spotlight.
In addition to our low-key celebration this year, I also want to start some kind of Father’s Day tradition that we can return to annually as Kaspar grows. Any ideas? Leave a comment and sing your baby-daddy’ praises, share your favorite ways to celebrate Father’s Day, and tell us what you’re up to this year.