I had the kind of father who I suppose was traditional in the 1980's.
He worked all the time, came home exhausted and mostly avoided picnics, recitals, sporting events and the like. Despite this, my father and I have a closer relationship than most dads and daughters. Stormy? Yes. But also intimate enough that I share details of my life and see him on a frequent basis. I am lucky for this, but I still wanted something else for my child.
When I married R, I was hopeful that he would be the kind of father I always wanted: attentive, available and a good communicator to boot. He had his own set of thoughts from his childhood on what a father was supposed to be and what his own had done that he wished he hadn't and vice versa. I guess everyone starts out like that, right?
R is all that and more. He is a better father than I ever could have imagined, racing home at 5 p.m. to see his child. Forgoing the lab until 9 p.m. at night even when he knows he will have to stay until 2 a.m. to get the work done just so he can put her to bed.
He is a surprising father, always full of new ways to show Sam his love whether it is endlessly shooting hoops in her mini basketball net or pushing her doll stroller around or even doing the chicken dance.
In the beginning of our relationship, there were a few red flags and reasons that we maybe should have not been together. Our backgrounds are night and day. I have a good friend who is married to an Iranian Muslim (she is an Israeli Jewish woman) and I promise you, their backgrounds are more similar than ours, their extended families closer to one another.
R has always surprised me with his ability to transcend all that. He is truly a product of his own making, someone I respect and adore immensely for all that he was able to do on his own--putting himself through undergrad, working through setbacks, earning (almost) his PhD at a top school. I respected all of these things before I knew what kind of father he would be.
He had exceeded all my expectations, made me love and respect him even more and shown me that even a successful, hard working man can also be an amazing and loving father.
Is he perfect? No. Definitely not. But he and I have created our own family and a partnership that makes me so proud.
So, happy father's day to R and all of the fathers who have manage to transcend stereotype, examine themselves and become the kinds of fathers their children will always adore.