This blog has been completely self-centered so far, and in truth, it will probably continue to be. But I wanted to dedicate a post to J and my confidence that he will be a wonderful father. Obvsiouly making a baby takes two, but because it’s my body that tells us each month whether we’re pregnant or not and because it feels like a personal failing when we’re not, I get very caught up in how I feel about this whole TTC journey. That’s why most of these posts use phrases like “when I have a baby”, “I want to be a mother”, and anything else involing I, I, I or me, me, me. But really, this journey is about us, and we are both very much involved and affected by this journey.
Let me start by talking about my skewed view of fathers in general. My dad was pretty hands off. He and my mom are still married and he’s always been present in my life, but his view was that he would be available to me when I was able to hold an intelligent conversation. So our opportunities for early attachment were stunted. I now know that he loves me in his own way, but due to his own models of parenting, he doesn’t really know how to show or express it well. In fact, hearing my father say “I love you” makes me feel uncomfortable because it feels unnatural. He and I have our safe topics: work (formerly school achievements on my part), travel, financial planning, technology, and cars. Once we’ve exhausted these, there’s very little to talk about and, within 5 minutes, he seems ready to either pass the phone to my mom or hang up if she’s not home. As much as I share my feelings readily with others, he and I don’t talk about feelings. Because of my relationship with my father, I viewed all fathers as distant. I figured they “loved” their kids in a standoffish way. Kind of like their kids were a source of pride in so much as they could “perform” (i.e., be good in school, talented, good looking, etc.). I didn’t really see fathers as just having that innate sense of unconditional love. In fact, when I heard stories or saw tv shows/movies about men seeking custody of their children I thought it seemed absurd. I thought a divorced dad would be relishing his freedom. At the same time, any father-child (especially daughter) tender moments in tv/movies make me cry every time.
I have expressed these feelings to J and he was shocked that I felt that way. It is through him that I have realized that fathers can love as deeply as mothers and I think that J will be one of those father. I know that J is going to be an amazing father. How do I know? Well, first, there’s intuition, but there are also little signs. He is a big kid at heart. Although he is incredibly responsible and an amazing provider, he is very playful and gets right down to a child’s level when playing with them. He loves to joke around, gets excited at the thought of picking out action figures and super soakers, and I know he will be a fun dad. At first I was worried that he would primarily just be a “good time dad” – i.e., fully involved in the fun times, but taking a back seat to the chores of parenting (because I do most of the cleaning right now). However, I am convinced that he will help out more around the house and with the kids once they are here. I also know that he knows what a child needs in terms of nurturance, guidance, and limitations. I see it in the way he makes comments about bad parenting on tv or in the news or how his brother swears around and plays DMX for his 17 month old daughter. In our recent trip home, I saw that J was keeping an eye out for our niece, making sure she wasn’t getting into anything she shouldn’t or putting herself in harms way. He often looked out for her when no one else (except me, since I noticed that he was also checking on her) was. I also know that he is 100% committed to TTC. He has told me as much and, more importantly, he has shown me. He asks about my ovulation, understands that there are certain times when “sexy time” (a euphemism often used in our household) is important regardless of how tired we may be, and he even bought a baby book months ago in preparation.
I can’t wait to see J hold and play with our child(ren). I think seeing him as a father will make me fall in love with him more. The tenderness, care, and generosity that being a good parent involves will melt my heart. I think that he will be the kind of dad who dreads the thought of his little girl dating and he’ll be sure to teach a son how to respect women. I think he’ll be strict to a point, but fair. He will want what’s best for our children, even if that doesn’t match up with his own goals. I think we will be a good balance too. He will help me to relax and understand that they need to make their own mistakes (I know how important it is not to be overprotective, but it will be hard – my overactive imagination thinks of the potential dangers and predators out there). He’ll also make them laugh and he’s already looking forward to embarassing them in their teens by being the dorky dad :) Just typing all of this makes me smile and it makes me hopeful. I honestly can’t imagine feeling more fulfilled than watching J fall more and more in love with our kids and enjoying a quiet day all together.