I’ve been lucky enough to spend my entire life with my father and two grandfathers not to mention several other dad-based relatives. Father’s Day celebrations are not new to me. But participating in one as a father is.
This morning Erin gave me a great father’s day gift, plus three cards – one from her and two from Abigail – and a onesie for AG that says “My Daddy Rocks” (with a little guitar).
It’s all a bit surreal as there was a time in my life when it looked as if I would never be on the “father” side of Father’s Day celebrations. In the beginning of the end of my first marriage, I told my first wife “I don’t think I want kids” even though that had been a driving force behind why we got married in the first place. “Neither do I,” she said. We were both lying. We both still wanted kids. Just not with each other. Everything that was wrong about our marriage was there in that moment. We were divorced within a year.
Up until Abigail was born, I’d worked harder on my relationship with Erin than anything else I’ve ever tried. There were points when – no matter how much I loved her – I wasn’t sure we would end up together. I had a lot of shit to work through in therapy and had to learn how to trust my instincts and emotions again. Getting this far meant trying to achieve a deceptively complicated goal: get each day right. When we started dating, I wasn’t trying to achieve marriage. When we got married, I wasn’t trying to achieve home ownership or fatherhood or a certain life together. I just tried to get every day right. I’ve missed the mark as often as I’ve hit it. No, strike that. I’ve probably missed the mark more often than I’ve hit it. But I get up every day and try again. And so does she.
Without going into the details, we had difficulty trying to have a kid. Not near as much as some, but more than others. We tried off-and-on for a year. In that time, we both made peace with the possibility that our family might not grow larger than the two of us and the dog. And then boom.
The other day I was looking down at Abigail’s head and thought “You were worth every difficult moment.” Here was proof that together Erin and I hit the mark often enough. And I get to feel that every single day.