I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed listening to it until you left for a long business trip. I probably never noticed because a version of it happens all the time wether you are here or not. Except now that you’ve been gone for a while I can clearly hear now that it’s different. It’s lacking it’s lustre, the hysteria and the noise. It’s an undeniable truth. The children laugh harder, purer and longer with you around. The change in their laugh makes your absence feel harsh.
Sure I tickle, I roar and I chase. But somehow it’s just not the same. Every time you poke the baby and say, “No, you do it!” he erupts into a fit of giggles and squeals back, “You do it daddy!” I have no idea what the “it” is that you are supposed to be doing. But it doesn’t matter. He thinks its hilarious. When I poke him and say, “No, you do it!” He looks at me like I’m an idiot. And honestly, I can’t blame him. It doesn’t make any sense. But I’m not dad, so it’s just not funny.
Despite my best efforts, I cannot seem to master your impressions of a seasick triceratops or a t-rex that despite having only two fingers and tiny little arms is desperate to master a high five. I am not strong enough to give your awesome shoulder rides and I am not nearly as good at catching frogs. My grossed out face is not as animated as yours and farts are just not as funny without dad around. I can’t compete with your made up song lyrics and very few things are funnier to me than watching my three guys dance the sprinkler and lawnmower to indie rock.
Don’t get me wrong, we have had lots of fun, tons of giggles, tickles and copious amounts of cuddles. But sill, we miss you. Our little family is not the same without you. You give us a spark…a joy…an abundance of laughter. But more importantly, you are teaching them what I can’t. You are giving them a real life example of what it means to be a man and a father.
You are the reason they think all daddies love mommies and why our five year old has been trying to open all of my doors. You are the reason the boys say, “I love you,” so openly and freely and are not afraid to show affection to those they care about. Your are the reason they laugh so hard. Before you left on your trip, you told our oldest son that he needed to help out while daddy was gone. The example you set is the reason he took that to mean cleaning, doing dishes and trying to change his brother’s diapers.
Even with you gone they still wait by the door at the end of the day for you to come home. They ask about you and cry when they can’t fall asleep in your arms. It seems fitting that you will be returning just in time for Father’s Day because never have we appreciated you more than we do now. I thought I’d miss your help with parenting and discipline, but I’m honestly so used to parenting solo it hasn’t been an issue at all. Instead I miss you, the laughter you bring, the love you exude and the example you set.
Your oldest son said it best yesterday when he informed me he didn’t want to be a palaeontologist anymore. He seemed quite confident in his decision and it made me think he had decided on a new profession. For a brief moment I had high hopes that dinosaurs were on the outs. He stood looking at me with a sweet smile on his face, “I want to grow up to be a daddy. Just like my daddy,” he told me. I loved that he thinks being a daddy is your profession in the same way that being a mom is mine. It shows how present and engaged you are in their lives. To our little boy, work is just a place you go. It’s not who you are or what you do. “You know you can be a daddy and a palaeontologist?” I told him, “You can be both.” But he shook his head no, “I just want to be a daddy. Like my daddy.” It was a statement that exemplified the kind of dad you are. As far as your kids are concerned, your job is being their daddy and you are so good at it that it is all our son wants to be too.
So for Father’s Day this year I wanted you to know that your kids love you and that all your efforts to maximize quality time with them are paying off. You are teaching our two little boys how to be men and it’s been a beautiful process to watch. But more than anything, I’m excited to have you home so the joy and laughter I love so much can return with you. Because no matter how hard I try, I am not dad and I never will be.
Happy Father’s Day! We love you.