I am sitting at the dining room table as I type this. The younger children are watching Bondi Vet while my husband and our eldest are huddled over a computer on the loungeroom floor, discussing her biology assignment. Our eldest recently celebrated her 17th birthday and that means my husband has been a father for the same time. With Father’s Day recently done and dusted for another year, I was curious to ask him what the day meant to him and what he appreciates most about being a father.
He paused for a moment, and considered. Then he explained that being a father to him means the privilege of loving and taking care of his family. This brings him a lot of satisfaction, he said. The day itself isn’t very important. Sure, he enjoys breakfast in bed and receiving a new set of handmade cards to pin in his office. However, at the heart of it, fatherhood is about service and love to his family, not his family giving him stuff.
I was rather humbled at his response. It reinforced how beautiful a partnership can be: when two people commit to each other, make it work and create a life together. Our children are part of that. It’s the day-to-day moments of our life that mean so much. It’s when I intentionally include my husband in family life, even when he’s not around. It’s when my husband sends a special message for the kids if he can’t make it to an event. It’s expressing how much I appreciate him. It’s when he throws himself into homework with the children after a long day at work. It’s when the children fling themselves at their dad when he gets home and the silly games they play together. These currents – from me, from him, from our children – make family life meaningful and beautiful. You have to hang on to these things sometimes when times are rough! After 17 years of parenting, I realise they matter so much.