Father’s Day weekend is upon us in Australia, so there are some things I want to say - to my own husband, and you know what? To amazing dads everywhere.
To the daddy of my babies,
Since the day our children breathed their first, they’ve been your darlings.
You were the first to hold them, and I am so grateful that from their very beginnings you were forming a bond that exists outside of me and motherhood.
As a dad, you bring such a sense of silliness into our home.
Your playfulness and sense of adventure add a delicious dose of the unexpected. You give piggy backs and shoulder rides, play dollies and trucks, you build big block towers, so the kids can knock them down.
You know all the words to Let it Go, and happily belt them out while dancing manically with our daughter around the toy infested living room.
Or else, you'll hide in the bathtub until our daughter notices you're missing, just to show her there are no rules in this life, that the unpredictable is exciting and fun.
The raucous laughter that comes from our girl’s room as you work your way though a convoluted routine of books and games and songs of a night always leaves me smiling.
It’s like the two of you have this bubble of your own. A tiny universe that I will never quite understand.
And I love that. I love knowing our children have you.
You’re heroic, playful and funny but you’re so much more than that.
You are a nurturer, a caregiver. A model of security and tenderness, kindness and compassion.
You embrace our children with no inhibition.
You’re teaching them men are sweet and thoughtful, gentle and patient.
You make so many sacrifices for our tiny tribe.
When our children were born and we were both sleep deprived and still falling in love with them, you kissed us goodbye and went back to work.
You believe deeply in the responsibility of fatherhood and partnership and I see your pride in providing for our family but I know that means you miss out on things, too.
You work so hard, some days you feel like you barely see our children. We sit down to dinner and you greet them, as if for the first time.
I know you do this so we can have a happy life.
I know it’s not always easy.
Parenthood is often portrayed it as this romantic thing of shiny moments and the many cute things kids say each day.
Or else, it’s depicted as something of a battle, where it’s us against the wildlings and where no one survives unscathed.
I think most parents know it’s both these things, all at once.
It’s a trillion challenges wrapped in the undeniable charm of a three year old asking for one more chocolate biscuit. It’s the softness and warmth of a sleeping baby on your chest, but with a side of screaming banshee.
It’s a love so deep and so powerful and so intense it makes your chest tight and your heart ache, but also leaves you wishing for just one night off.
No matter how you slice it, parenthood is a crazy, hazy, shock of a thing. It’s both the spinning round in circles and the moment you stop, reaching desperately for something so you don’t fall flat.
And you know what? That thing for me is you.
Because no matter the day we’ve had, at the end of it you’re there - the one person who knows firsthand the struggles and the victories - standing beside me in the hall outside our children’s room.
A man with dishevelled hair, puree stains on his shirt and a look in his eyes that’s simultaneously shellshocked, exhausted and hopelessly in love.
I’m so glad we're doing this tough gig together. I wouldn’t want to do it without you.
So here’s to you.
Here’s to the tickle fights, to the nappy changes, to the shoulder rides and the cuddles.
Here’s to the kisses, the fart jokes and the countless goodnight kisses.
Here's to the tantrums and the teething, and to giving away your last bite of bacon.
Here’s to the parent who’ll tip a bowl of porridge onto the highchair tray so the baby can enjoy how it feels, or who’ll chock his mouth with grapes because his son think it’s hilarious.
Here’s to the countless showers, the daycare pickups, swimming lessons and trips to the supermarket.
Here’s to the guy who always remembers to take a towel to the park in case the slide is wet, and who can pass crackers blindly into the backseat, without ever taking his eyes off the road.
Here's to bedtime stories, cooking lessons and sneaky daddy-daughter donut dates.
Here’s to dads everywhere.
We love you. x
(If you're a Geelong family, I'm giving away a Short Story Session to one lucky family, in honour of Father's Day, 2017. Pop on over here to enter!)