Musings/thoughts, Parenthood

An ode to dads (P.S. we love you, Pips)

5 Mar , 2014  

Dear daddies out there

With the birth of a child, your first child, your life is the same no more. In this flurry of newness and activity, much has been fussed over the wife and the baby. More often than not, your role has been overlooked in favour of the moms, and it’s not without reason – afterall, they are the ones carrying the child for 9 months, and they are the ones going through the nasty little thing called labour.

What good are you, dear daddy? What value do you bring to the table?

As a cynical girlfriend once said, “What good is the role of the man other than in comforting the missus during labour? I can comfort too, that’s easy. Just a few sweet words and pats on the back, who can’t do that?”

Well honey, the truth is, whose hands matters. Labour taught me that. When your hubby’s hands are intertwined with yours, you’ll feel a strength and warm comfort coursing through you that lets you know, you’re NOT ALONE. That matters. More than you’ll ever know, dear hubby.

You are the one holding your wife’s hand as the two of you stroll through the park. While she is soaking in the morning sun, your eyes are intently watching out for cats or dogs or rodents that might frighten her and cause her to trip in her pregnant state.

You are the one fixing up the baby’s cot and cleaning up the room, all excited and ready for baby’s arrival. You clean and pack the nursery room, and forbid your wife from overly exerting herself. Your purchase a car in anticipation of the little one. You calculate the finances and make sure the both of you, the three of you, are in good state.

It’s what you can do, you say, and she smiles at you, as you remind her once again of the man she married, and with your small little gestures, speak volumes of the father you are to become.

You are the one who come flying once THE CALL comes, in between sobs of pain “dearie, can you come now?” You are the one trying to drive safely yet flooring a 100, 120 in your anxiety, caught between wanting to be by your wife’s side this very instant, and fighting the overwhelming urge to speed. You are the one hastily rushing down to hail a cab while calling for one on your phone, and your iPad, ready to head to the hospital or rush to your wife’s side. You are the one who want to do everything within your means to make your wife feel better during labour, and yet, there is nothing more you can do than being by her side, holding her hands.

And that, dear daddies, is enough.

As you see your baby for the first time, your heart swells with pride, and you love this little crying human being immediately. Never mind that he looked abit gray when you first set eyes on him. For an instant, just an instant before your baby hollered a good one, your heart stopped for a moment – is he alright? Why does he look so gray and… lifeless?

And then the li’l babe cried, and once again, your heart bubbles with little floating balloons of happiness. You look at your wife, your brave missus who delivered this little package for the both of you, and you know that you love her more than ever. Not because she gave you a child, but because that moment told the story of all that you love about her, the journey the both of you walked, hand in hand, till now, where another beautiful chapter in your story is about to unfold.

You spend a precious week with your wife and baby, adjusting to life as a family nucleus of 3 (for now), and poof, before you know it, time has flown by you and now, you’re being packed off back to work. You rush through lunch and stay in during work, just  so that you can be at 150% productivity, but dearie, don’t you realise? The work you have is for 2 or 3, and staying late will never be enough.

By the time you reach home, your child is asleep, and your wife is tired. You know the burning eagerness and duty you feel to see your baby and be with him, and to support your wife in any way you can. But you can’t. You’re away at work. All you can do now is to look at them, feeling sorry that another day has passed and you weren’t able to spend any decent time with them.

You understand how those soldiers sent overseas for missions feel; those soldiers who spend years out at war and are unable to hold their child and cradle their babies in their arms. You feel their pain, and know they are fighting a tougher war than you. So you grit your teeth and rage your own fight against the finiteness of time and the mounting work that never ceases.

Others who don’t know think you have it easy. You’re working, they reason. You don’t have to feed a hungry baby every few hours or decipher his cries. You just… work. But they don’t know the good 10 – 15 hours you put in at work every single day just so you can bring home the bacon. Just so you are a responsible employee. They don’t know your fatigue, and your desire to straddle both the duty of responsible dad and responsible employee within the same 24hours. They don’t know how dearly you hold the morning kisses or how immensely precious the moments are when your baby looks at you in the morning, beaming right at you, just before you leave for work. That’s your energy bar right there, that will fuel you as you work till the sun sets, and some more.

They don’t know the pain in your heart and the guilt you feel towards your wife and child, that you are not spending enough time with them. They don’t know and they won’t see the silent tears you shed.

But I do, dearie, and know that in this day and age, to be a good dad and a responsible worker is a near impossible task. I see you trying your best, I see the guilt and fatigue scrambling for the same space in your eyes.

So dear daddies, know that as you try your best, you are vindicated of all guilt that you feel of being an inadequate dad and husband. Your very effort is appreciated and you are very much loved. The toughest of times will pass all of us by, and what we can do now, is cherish every weekend that we have.

We love you, dad. We always will.

How precious the weekends are! Skin to skin bonding promotes intimacy between parents and child 🙂

Father-son time. Kindly ignore the foot photobomb

Stolen moments in the morning before work. Short, intense and precious minutes.

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