First, I have to say that Nathanael has broken the “b” and “l” keys off of our laptop. Do you know how often those two letters are used? So please forgive any massive misuse of said letters.
Secondly, I joined a group called “Prompt-ly” over at Stirrup Queens. This post is in response to a writing prompt! If you are part of the ALI community and are looking for help, ideas or encouragement in your writing, go sign up. Then come back.
Sunday is Father’s Day. This will be Keith’s second Father’s Day. I have enjoyed watching him develop his father skills almost as much as I have enjoyed developing my mother skills. Infertility is a scary thing around Mother’s Day, as is well covered in the blogosphere. But what about Father’s Day? How does infertility make a guy feel around Father’s Day? (and on the off chance I have any infertile men reading… I would love to know your thoughts!)
Today as I was shopping for cards, I noticed an entire section of Father’s Day cards from the dog. Now, I have to admit, Keith and I have exchanged birthday cards from our pets. But Mother’s Day and Father’s Day? Not so much. Before last May, in fact, we pretty much avoided these two holidays. Yes, we celebrated with our parents, but there was no exchange of cards from the pets. (and there won’t be this year, either, although there were some pretty cute cards.) Father’s Day was spent in a kind of weird cloud, ignoring everything that was going on around us. Sure, we’d go down to my dad’s for dinner, but that wasn’t really a big deal at all.
I wonder if infertility has made Keith a better father than he would have been had we had children immediately upon trying. We became parents in our mid-thirties. When Nathanael came into our lives, and our lives drastically changed, Keith handled it with incredible grace. When he had to deal not only with a crying baby but a crying wife as well, he never flinched. When we decided (and yes, we decided) that I would quit teaching to stay home, he manned up and shouldered the responsibility and stress of being the sole provider with joy and pride.
When I have had it with the kiddo, he can swoop in and make us both laugh. And he never lets a day pass without reminding both of us how truly blessed we are. I’m not sure he would do those things if we were younger… or if having children was easier for us. I do think he enjoys fatherhood more than some other fathers I’ve met. In fact, most of the adoptive fathers I’ve met seem to relish fatherhood.
(Disclaimer… I’m not saying if you didn’t struggle to knock up your wife you’re a crappy father… I’m not even insinuating that. I’m speaking about our experience and my observations. I know plenty of great fathers, period, adoptive, IVF, IUI, or the old-fashioned kind.)
I think Keith relishes fatherhood because he wanted to have children way before I did. He was ready when I was ambivalent. He guided me to the point where I was ready for motherhood. Then we walked the path of adoption together, after learning neither of us have what it takes to make babies. I think all of this added to his current enjoyment of being a daddy. He loves nothing more than to come home from work, hear the pitter patter of little feet and a high pitched little boy voice shout, “Dada!”
He would have enjoyed that, period.
But I think it is all the more sweet because of the path we walked.
Is he a better father than he would have been eight years ago? Without a doubt.
Is it because of infertility? I suspect so.
Happy Father’s Day, Keith. You are a great father, and our son is more than blessed because of you.