The first time I ever saw my husband, he was gently attending to his children. Minutes before our blind group date set up by a mutual friend, I watched from the window next to the restaurant where we were to meet while he helped his two boys out of the car and held the little one’s hand as they walked toward me. I fell in love with him as a father before I ever even knew him as a man. And 10 years and three more children of our own later, I can still say that the thing that I love most about him — his sexiest, most irresistible quality — is the way he loves and makes time for our children.
When it comes to dads, involved is the new black.
Dove Men+Care has certainly picked up on this, evident in their tear-jerking Father’s Day commercial, a tribute to the modern dad, created in an effort to change the way fathers are portrayed in the media. No more “Wait until your father gets home,” or “Go ask your mother.” No. Fathers are now being shown as who they really are: just as nurturing, just as emotionally available and just as important as moms. Like the new father-to-be who, upon viewing that first ultrasound photo, reaches for the phone and proudly asks, “Dad?” Or, the little boy who, mid potty-training, yells from the toilet, “Daaaa-ad!” Or, the bride who smiles a teary grin, while wrapped in her father’s arms. And the countless babies who reach for, lie against and run to the big strong arms of their daddies.
There is no denying that the role of fathers has changed and that, over the past 20 years, dads have taken a more hands-on approach to raising their kids. Research shows this change is both culturally and economically stimulated, a response to the fact that there are more working women today.
So dads far and wide, we celebrate you. Sure, you may have been changing diapers for a long time and that’s nothing that deserves balloons and parades, but correctly tying that ponytail holder around the twisty braidy thing you just attempted does. Yeah, we noticed that. And we loved it.
This job of raising our children and preparing them for life is the most important job we will ever do — together. We’re a team, equally building their futures with every reading of Goodnight Moon, with every brush stroke of their hair, with every homework problem through which we guide them. We pick up each other’s slack, but we don’t limit our experiences with our children to predefined roles for moms and dads. We both pick up that phone when they call crying.
We see you, dads — and we’re so happy we’re in this together.
Happy Father’s Day!