To the good dads out there, we see you.
We see you standing nervously over your newborn, taking notes in your head as the nurse explains how to gently swaddle him. You’re wondering what you’ve just gotten yourself into, while marvelling at your incredible wife, and at the tiny person you have helped create.
We see you making coffee in your kitchen, red-eyed after taking the 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. wake-ups so your exhausted partner can sleep. You have work today, but you also know that what she does is work, too. You’ve watched exhaustion slowly strip her of her energy and happiness, and you know how one night’s sleep can help bring her back to life.
Why every dad should take paternity leaveWe see you cleaning things you never imagined cleaning. You wipe spit-up from between crib slats, out of car seat straps, and your favourite work shirt. You spray stain remover onto the backside of onesies and the knees of grass-stained jeans. You boil bottles in your canning pot because the Internet told you to do so. You have become a master of the laundry room.
We see you carefully picking out clothes before school, knowing your daughter’s favourite shirt is the one with the skates on it. You search “French braid tutorial” on YouTube because she wants to look like her favourite cartoon character. You sew badges onto Brownies sashes. You know all the songs from Moana by heart, and sing them loudly in the car on the way to swimming lessons.
We see you hugging your son when he’s sad, wiping his tears and telling him it’s OK to cry. You pull up a stool so he can stand beside you while you make dinner, explaining the intricacies of browning onions. You know the names of all his favourite Paw Patrol characters. You put chocolate-chip smiley faces in his pancakes, and bring him on your Sunday morning errands so your partner can have a cup of tea in a quiet house.
We see you cheering on one child at soccer, while cradling a sleeping baby in a baby carrier from the sidelines and building a grocery list on your phone. We see you carefully applying sunscreen to noses, Band-Aids to knees, and frosting to bake-sale cupcakes.
We see you helping kids with school assignments way past bedtime, running to the corner store for extra glue or printer paper, and looking up the correct spelling of “onomatopoeia.”
We see you worrying. We see you teaching. We see you growing. We see you loving.
We may not always tell you this. Days are long and short all at once, and filled with so many responsibilities, meals to cook, bags to pack, assignments to find, and emails to return. Sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time to sit down and tell you that we see all you do, and love you for all that you do.
You are part of an army of amazing dads, step-dads and granddads who are raising an army of equally amazing kids. Your guidance, love and support will shape them as they grow, and influence—in the best way—the type of adults they will eventually become.
So, because you don’t hear this enough: We see you. Thank you for all you do.