Never the girl who dreamed of wedding dresses or knights in shining armor, I am independent, opinionated and not exactly the kind of girl men would rush to marry as far as I’m concerned. Therefore I also believed there was no way in the world I would have a family because I am not the kind of person to purposely do something like that on my own ( I know my limitations). So to quote my late uncle Kit, who looked at me and smiled and said, “Look who’s married with babies, eh?” it was pretty surprising to me and pretty much anyone who really knew me that my life unfolded the way it did.
I met Tom in 1991 and we became really good friends. After 4 years of being a couple we married and two years and a few months later we had our Adam. I remember the moment my friend and husband Tom transformed into a family man. It certainly wasn’t when I was pregnant. I mean, he was wonderful and caring during the nine months but I was the one with the life growing inside me while he was an observant by-stander. The biology and physiology of being pregnant makes it difficult for guys to have the same loving and intimate connection we do to our babies. Tom’s debut in the world of the family man happened when Adam left the mother ship and launched into the atmosphere screaming at the top of his lungs. I looked at Tom’s face when he walked over and quietly said, “Hello Adam,” and placed his finger in the little hand. Instantly Adam looked right at him and stopped crying as if he recognized his voice. It was at that moment my husband’s face changed. He seemed different – as if something in his head said “Ok, this is it! It changes and starts now!” He seemed a little more mature, a little more serious and suddenly I felt that as long as he was with us,we would be safe and protected. It was Tom the friend, the husband, partner and worker compounded by this new Tom; Tom the father, bringing everything full circle to make him what he was supposed to be – a family man. Two and a half years later, fatherhood was second nature to him and though we were both more tired – the kind of tired where you feel like you just want to puke or curl up somewhere and die, I found him sexier. There was something about him when he would have the toddler by the hand and the baby in the crook of his arm or when he sat in this white wooden rocking chair and fed Logan, or when he carried one of them on his shoulders. He was so big and they were so small and he handled them effortlessly even they were insanely rowdy. Fatherhood seemed to fit Tom like a comfortable pair of running shoes and good days or bad, he enjoys it.
As a woman, I understand why we marry and have children ( even when the reasons are less than rational) but I have often wondered and asked why do men? I’m sorry to sound stereotypical but you hardly hear boys talking about their future wedding. You don’t often see them trying on the suit their father got married in and you rarely hear them talking about babies. The answer I got from Tom was so simple it was almost too simple. He said he never planned to marry but he knew how he felt about me and he knew as he was considering getting married that he would be interested in having a family and building a life with me by his side. My response was, “So you just knew?” and he nodded and replied, “As we went along, I knew what I wanted to have with you,”.
And so here we are, two children and a couple of dogs later. There have been moves across the country, job changes, career changes, apartments, cities, autism, a little asthma, stitches, tents, two houses, schools, homework, sports, more sports, cars, laughter, tears, grief, death, illness, accidents, time outs, rewards, punishment, therapy for the kid, therapy for us because of the kid, more laughter, big vacations, little getaways. Lots of talking, very little sleeping, fireworks, fireflies, movies and comic books, hot dogs, hamburgers, peanut butter, cookies and candy. Amusement parks, skate parks,band aids, casts, blood, teeth, tooth fairies, Santa and the Easter bunny. Bicycles, talent shows, plays, recitals, games, lazy days, busy days, tournaments, endless driving, expense, worry, hugs, worry,arguments, fighting, worry, crying, puke, poop, money highs and money lows and too many more things to mention. But at the end of the day it’s all been worth having someone to share these moments with – someone steady in my corner.
My family man is my best friend, loving husband and a magnificent father and role model. He works hard to put money in the bank, food on the table and clothes on our backs. He is an upstanding and outstanding gentleman who is not someone I would describe as religious but is someone who lives his life by the golden rule and is fair, kind, honest and is one of the best human beings I know. He holds his head high even on the hard days and all he wants in return is to see us smile. So… he makes us smile with his constant joking and gags and the wonderful family vacations and outings and treats he works so hard to provide. He’s always looking for those perfect little ideas that he thinks will make our day and yet all he has to do is just be himself, right here with us. My family man has weathered many storms with our family and is our rock. He always puts us first and feels a huge sense of satisfaction when the special moments he’s created for us successfully allows us to rekindle our family bond and our love for each other. He makes things happen. He is so filled with love and pride when it comes to our family it’s hard for him to contain. We are enough for him yet in his mind, he can’t give us enough even though he has. He is helping me raise two fine young men and I hope they hold on to all that he teaches them and become role models for others.
I know I am blessed and fortunate to have Tom. The family man, it seems is not so easy to find anymore. Couples don’t stay married as long as they used to and our busy world makes for busy lives with very little time for couples to reconnect. We have our ups and downs in our relationship but at the end of the day, I think we remember why we fell in love and how much our family and our life together means to us. We are happy together no matter what situation we may find ourselves. The attraction and the appreciation, respect and care is still there and it is reminiscent or the relationship my parents had right up to my father’s passing. My parents had that same connection and they cared for it always. My parents hugged and kissed and held hands often and suffice it to say, I married a man with values and traits much like my father’s and our relationship as a couple tends to mirror the one he had with my mother and the thought that we could be together to the end like they were, is heartwarming.
So to all you tried and true family men out there, I raise my glass to you. You are important and you are filled with love. You are the foundation of your family and you are loved and appreciated. Happy Father’s Day and continued blessings.