When I think of fatherhood I think of my husband playing with our daughters. It’s a beautiful sight to see-full of love, light, and laughter. He’s literally the textbook version of a great dad and our daughters are blessed beyond measure to have such an amazing force in their lives. He’s steady like a rock and never falters. He’s strong and brave, and he puts so much on the line to make sure his family, and his country are protected. Most of all, he’s always willing and ready to deal with any hard thing that might come up while being a parent-which is something I lack and something he makes up for time and time again.
I recently asked him to help me write this blog post, because it is about Father’s Day, and I’m not a father. I can only imagine what it’s like being a dad and the struggles you face on that side of parenting; while also all the happiness you encounter as well. He sent me what he wrote and I think it’s something that’s so important in today’s society to remember the things he laid out in his post.
I’m so proud of him. I’m proud of the husband he is. I’m proud of the dad he is. I’m proud of the person he is, and I’m especially proud of him for writing what he wrote. So here it is, from the words of my husband, Jeremiah; what it’s like to be a dad and why being present is so important in your children’s lives.
“Let me first start off by saying that I am no perfect dad. I wish there was a manual out there that told us all how to be the perfect father because sometimes us dads definitely know we could use a manual- but who are we kidding, we wouldn’t read it anyways. I am the proud father to two beautiful little girls, Hadlee and Ember, as well as two angel babies in Heaven who I will one day see again.
What does it mean to be a father? That’s not an easy question to answer these days and there is no one way or absolute right way to be a father. The first time I saw my oldest daughter being born I thought to myself “what did I get myself into?” I had a strange feeling all over, one of pure joy, love and another of absolute panic. I had no idea how to be a father, let alone raise a child, but here I was, ready to take on the title of father.
Fortunately for me, I had a slight advantage. I had an amazing role model and father to look up to, my Dad. Growing up, I know we as men don’t always say “I love you” enough, and we all know we certainly don’t express our feelings enough either. The greatest lesson my dad taught me of fatherhood was being present. He worked hard and there were times that he would be called away on a job or have to leave in the middle of the night, but when he was home, he was present. He showed up to events when it counted, and sometimes he just randomly showed up with pizza for my brother and I just to spend time with us when he could.
For me, that is what being a good, loving father is all about. Just being present for your children when you can. This world isn’t getting any less busy and with technology at our finger tips, being present matters more today than it ever has. I think sometimes as fathers we don’t do this well enough and it is something I know I will always continue to work on: putting the phone down when I get home, not checking emails, and being present for my daughters.
As for my situation and many other fathers who are just like me, being present when you can is key as sometimes our military orders take us all over the world, and far away from our children. It hurts to the core leaving your children behind, but we know that what we do everyday protects them when they lay their heads down at night or when they go to school. As much as it pains me to leave my daughters, I know that one day they will understand why daddy had to do what he did and they will understand why I had to miss things in their life. That’s why I vow to always be present and give my daughters my full attention when I can because I know they deserve that from their father.
You don’t have to be the perfect father, Lord knows I’m not, but if I had to simply say what being a father is to me it’s being present for your children. It’s showing up when it matters and it’s being involved in their lives no matter how they feel about it because one day they will appreciate it more than they know. Love your children everyday and be the father they deserve.”
For me, reading what he wrote hit the nail on the head; being present is something we all struggle with.
I was lucky enough to have a dad and a step dad growing up who tried their hardest to be there for me when I needed them to be. I was busy and there were all sorts of different directions I took, but they supported me and loved me through it all. To my Dad and my Bill Dad, I love you guys so much. Thank you for being there and for loving me through it all.
On Father’s Day this year, I challenge you to be present in every way, shape, and form for the father of your children; keep the phone by your side to take pictures, but don’t check it, let social media fall to the wayside for just one day. To all the father’s out there that are apart of this “University of Fatherhood” club, you guys deserve so much. Happy Father’s Day to you. I hope you’re spoiled and loved beyond measure this year.
Codi is a military wife and mama to two young ladies. She has a blog where she shares her encounters with PPD and PPA. She talks about the realities of marriage and explores all journeys of motherhood.