Later Dads: The Blessing That They Are by Heather Bowles
Good Saturday evening, Later Moms and Dads. I hope you’re taking it easy in this heat! Today, as I sit here typing this, deciding what to say to and about my partner in parenting, he is across the room, reading to our daughter. Without his diversionary tactics, I fear I might never get a single blog entry written or much of anything done around the home, for that matter.
My relationship with Tabitha’s father is my second attempt at marriage, and although I was deliberately looking for someone wholly different for the second go-round, I don’t think he would have been any more mature than my first husband in parenting had we not been forced by our biological difficulties to wait. Even now, he retains a youthful, creative streak and a flair for the dramatic that both of us girls find ridiculously entertaining more often than not.
Recent years have been unkind to Tabitha’s father. He decided it was time to finish his degree when I became pregnant with her, and working and attending school full time has proven to be a difficult workload. His most recent health scare has driven home how real his own mortality is, and what that means for his children and their mother, who are very much dependent on his support, both at home as a caregiver to our children and as a breadwinner. But he bears the responsibility well, and I am very proud of all he has accomplished. I am also thankful that once he gets his teeth in something, he never lets go. A lesser man would have given up earlier. Because of his perseverance, we are looking forward to his graduation ceremony later this month.
He is also the most eager father I have ever seen. He never shies from a diaper no matter how noxious it might be, and engages our daughter in play far more naturally than I: the one who is always questioning the “educational value” of whatever might be going on at the time. His natural sense of timing and organic knowledge of childish needs offsets my desire to always be on a schedule and analytical nature perfectly where it concerns our daughter. I have no doubt that without him, she would not be half as outgoing and willing to try new experiences as she is.
His attentiveness to both his daughter, and admittedly very hormonal and pregnant wife, make for a much happier home than it would be without him, or God forbid, a more youthful specimen of “manhood”, whatever that might be. Tabitha’s smiles are mostly to his credit, and if she looked any less like him, she wouldn’t be nearly so beautiful. So this weekend, I thank you, Charles, for all that you are and all that you will be to our children in the years to come. Happy birthday, and happy Father’s Day. I can only hope my readers are equally blessed!