Fatherhood has changed over the years. Most of the fathers I know are hands on, equal participants, which is a far cry from the fathers of my generation who worked late, traveled and left 99% of the parenting duties to mom.
But even in a world where dad carries the Baby Bjorn and changes some of the diapers, we are lucky. R is a "hands on dad" according to his softball team captain and a "Super DILF," according to me.
I have discovered a new love for my husband amid the poop stained onesies and drool-covered bibs. We are truly equal partners in raising Sam. Even as he finishes his dissertation and works full time, he finds the time to hold his daughter, to read to her, to change her diaper. He knows how to comfort her in ways I don't.
When I started in my mother's group last April, we were told not to meddle in the father-child relationship--"let him think he knows what he is doing." The thing is, R DOES know what he is doing. When he comes home from work, Sam smiles and reaches for him. On the nights where she seems impossible to calm and I am losing my mind, R somehow manages to soothe her. His bag of tricks is larger than mine, his patience endless.
R thinks of the things I do not. He wants to buy Sam flash card to stimulate her visual and brain development. He wants us to read to her more and make sure she hears at least 30,000 words a day. But there are no stereotypes in our family. R reads the parenting magazines, too. Sometimes he talks me down from paranoia and sometimes I talk him down from his. When Sam still woke up at night, R would comfort her, change her and feed her a bottle so I could sleep. He folded up the newborn clothes she had outgrown and cried as he put them away. He may be more sentimental than I am.
I spent a lot of yesterday feeling guilty because there is nothing I can do for him-- no gift I can give, no meal I could cook--that could tell him what it has meant to me to be a parent with him. I loved him the day we got married. But what I feel for him now is beyond love, beyond anything I have ever felt for anyone in my life. I am so grateful for him. And someday, I am sure, Samara will understand just how lucky she really is.