I love my husband so very much – I don’t say that often on this blog because I sort of figure that it should go without saying. Besides, my husband doesn’t read my blog (most of the time) and when he does, I doubt he does so to have his ego stroked. Yesterday was Father’s Day, though, and Dean’s first Father’s Day as a dad at that. It’s weird with Harley being so young – she doesn’t know what the day is about, but I still got him a mug with her face on it and a bunch of coffee for him to take to work.
Celebrating Father’s Day has made me think about how dads help as parents. Sure, plenty of kids grow up without a father, and I would never be one to push gender roles at all – I could end up being the one to help her with her math homework, or Dean could be the one to teach her how to cook or bake. But there are certain things that I’ve seen Dean do with Harley that I simply wouldn’t be as good at, and she’s better for having him.
Daddy time is adventure time. When I play with Harley, I strive to stimulate her in new ways, cuddle her, love her, sing to her. I am always incredibly careful with her, and that’s all good. But it’s when her daddy plays with her that she gets something so different. One of their favorite games to play together at the moment is “drop the baby”. I pretty much have to leave the room for this one because my heart jumps into my throat every time, but they both love it. He will hold her, and then pretend to drop her with a big gasp, catching her a second later. Her eyes go so big with shock, and then she smiles and even cackles. She loves it.
He can also fly her around the house, holding her sideways and upside down as she swoops and swirls. Or he’ll balance her on one hand, having her sit or lie on his hand – I’m not quite sure who is doing the balancing, but it’s definitely something I couldn’t do… how could I trust myself to catch her if she wobbled?
And yet, these are exactly the kinds of experiences that are so helpful for a little person. It helps to foster her trust of him, her excitement to see him, and it teaches her to take risks and try new things. Plus, all the movement is so good for her development and learning where her body is in space. It’s similar to some of the stuff I do with her, but just on a bigger scale.
I fully believe that kids can be raised by single parents (although I have no idea how single parents do it), or by two parents of the same gender. However, I see how wonderful it is for Harley to have two different types of people bringing her up. I will always be her safe, soft place to land, just as her daddy will always be the one encouraging her to jump and fly in the first place.