February 14, 2013

On dads and partnerships

My dad is pretty amazing. He is funny, talented, caring, thoughtful, hard-working, loving, and a pretty stellar partner to my mom. The example of their relationship has inspired me over the years, as they divided the responsibilities of running a home, breadwinning, and raising a family with a great deal of equity. And on this Valentine's Day I am happy to say they continue to be very much in love as well as in partnership.

I've loved Chris for a (relatively) long time now. But I think it was sharing the responsibilities of care-giving for Speck the dog that made me want to start a family with him. And watching him with Emilia makes me so happy. The first time I actually saw her, she was in Chris's arms (as mine were still tied down to the surgical table). This hazy, borderline-bittersweet, painkiller-soaked memory (and its significance as a culminating moment in our birth story) is that much less bitter because of him. The day we came home from the hospital he spent no less than a half hour toiling over the first record he would play for her in our living room. In the earliest days of my recovery when I could barely even use the stairs, he (along with our parents who each cycled through, helping us with meals, housecleaning, dog-walking, and baby wrangling) took such good care of both of us. He sang to the baby in Portuguese and English. He'd watch her react to different genres and tempos. And she'd gaze at him through it all. She still does.

He was the lucky recipient of her first laugh. He held her as she explored on her first museum trip. He is still a little better than I am at bouncing/rocking her to sleep (as I often rest on my breastfeeding laurels). And every day when he comes home from work I feel like we all breath a sigh of relief. He is shaping up to be the kind of father I was so lucky to have (and that I know he was lucky enough to have too).

If only there was mandatory family leave for everyone in the US...

As I reflect on my first example of love and the love that I feel for the family I started, I want to wish you and yours a Happy Valentine's Day!

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