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Happy Father’s Day to the Okayest Dad in the Entire World

Happy Father Day Okayest Dad NashvilleMomsBlog

Father’s Day is coming up, and I’m already stretching my eyeball muscles in preparation for all the epic rolling they’ll do on June 21. Last year, as I scrolled through countless hyperbolic facebook posts about how everyone’s dad AND husband are THE MOST AMAZING DADS EVER IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD, I realized something. (I mean something apart from the fact that so much eye rolling really does start to hurt after awhile…) While I appreciate the sentiment of my dear social media friends, I found last year that I don’t believe them. You guys. EVERYONE CAN’T BE THE BEST. Everyone has their crappy parenting moments, and the honest truth is that my husband, for one, is not the best father in the entire world.

Aside: I say this humbly, as I am the best mother in the entire world—at least according to my Instagram pictures. The world of Instagram is definitely NOT a beautiful lie. Because my children absolutely DO always smile and hold hands at the park and definitely do NOT scream and hit one another and cry and whine and irritate me to the point of throwing down my phone with which I was planning on taking another lovely picture and screaming at them. DEFINITELY NOT.

It’s not that my husband isn’t a wonderful father. He loves his children with all his heart. He spends his free time at home—with us. Saturday morning finds him flipping pancakes on the griddle in his plaid pajama bottoms, likely planning ways to make a lovely weekend. With me, he brainstorms ways to be better, more consistent parents or laments last night’s parenting mistakes. He’s had his fair share of lone bedtime routines as I have in the past spent countless evenings at the theatre. Yet, unlike myself, he never complains. He never acts tired of being Dad to our babies. He is moved to tears almost as often as I when they do something kind; he is as livid as I when they have been hurt emotionally or physically; he is fiercely protective of them. When he comes home, our kids squeal with joy, run to him, jump into his arms, squeeze him tight, and chatter to him about their days. He never withholds affection from them, squeezing them tightly right back when he walks through the front door. He lets our kids be who they are—never expecting them to already understand and adhere to social norms and never so much as raising an eyebrow when they’re running around the front yard stark, raving naked.

Yet when I pictured my husband as a father, there were always scenes of him chasing the kids through the house with a tireless tickle-monster energy, wrestling them on the floor, the kids riding on his shoulders through museums and shopping malls, him scooping the kids upstairs for a bedtime story and cuddle as they giggled under his arms. The unfairness of my projected image of him is undeniable—especially as, in my mind’s eye, he was always strolling in the door like Leave it to Beaver’s dad, wearing a suit and tie, and throwing his briefcase on the sofa—none of which he actually wears to work, and…does ANYone carry a briefcase anymore? Regardless of his attire, the fact is that he’s not the dad in a 50s TV shows. He’s not the dad who dresses up in a feather boa, surrounded by stuffed animals, while his daughter serves a tea party, not the dad who throws a baseball to his son in the backyard (is baseball the one where you need a glove or something?), not the dad who has unending energy for playing with and talking to his kids. He is not the dad whose patience makes up for my own lack thereof or who grins as his kids act like turds; he gets fed up with them as often as I do. I have looked outside to see him pushing the kids on the swing while staring at his phone. I have overheard him trying to explain concepts of morality that are WAY beyond our children’s brain capacities instead of simply correcting their behavior. Unlike me, who can think of little else, he seems painfully unaware of how quickly our children are growing up. I find him checking out on an electronic device more often than not. He doesn’t seem to understand the concept of picking battles; he starts with a single “no” and quickly gets lost in a swirling vortex of “don’t do that’s” that end in frustrated tantrums for all of us.

So, I inevitably find myself wondering—as I scroll through my Facebook feed full of a thousand best dads in the entire universe—are all these other dads living up to their wives’ and children’s views of perfect Dadness? Conversely, is everyone jaded and is hyperbole the only way to express gratitude at all? Or is everyone out there like me—able to see that their husbands/fathers aren’t really THE best, but knowing there isn’t anyone else they’d want for the job regardless?

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Because my husband is truly the only person I’d want to navigate these choppy parenting waters beside. The weird image I used to have of what fatherhood should look like has been replaced by a beautiful, honest reality. He’s not playing tea party with his daughter, but he’s working a puzzle with her instead. He’s not throwing any kind of ball around with his son, but he geeks out about showing him how to wire a circuit board.

He’s the dad who rarely reacts emotionally to our kids’ fit-throwing. He stays calm and interjects logic as often as possible. He’s the dad who accepts his kids for who they are, the dad who finds joy in sharing the world he loves with his son and daughter. When our children grow up, I believe whole-heartedly that they will remember a father who sacrificed for their happiness, a father who loved them with all of his being. He is not a superhero; he’s a human. He is not the best father in the world, but he’s the best father for our children. He’s showing our kids what it means to live a real life full of mistakes and flaws and as much joy and love as one can muster.

So, with all that said…Happy Father’s Day to the best, most wonderful father in the entire world. No, really.

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