Family life

An ode to an awesome dad on Father's Day

Tracy's husband is the greatest parenting partner in the world. No, really!

By Tracy Chappell
An ode to an awesome dad on Father's Day

Sean with two of his three biggest fans.

I don’t write much about him here, but my girls do indeed have a father. My husband, Sean, and I will be celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary this summer and it’s crazy to me how this relationship can seem both so new and so ingrained in my very being. I didn’t even meet him until I was 26, so there’s a whole quarter of my life that was lived without knowledge of his existence, this man who would become my everything. He didn’t know me when I had a perm, or see my bedroom walls plastered with a big-haired Jon Bon Jovi. He never checked me out in my favourite acid-washed jeans; we've haven't danced together to "Stairway to Heaven." He never rode shotgun in my first car or helped me cram for university exams.

I remember crying on my 25th birthday (the first and last birthday I ever mourned) because I felt so alone and untethered. Nothing in my life was going the way I’d imagined. I couldn’t have known — because we’re not allowed to know — that I’d meet Sean a year later at my first “real” job and take a leap into a relationship that would lead to love, real estate, wedding bands and two beautiful daughters.

Today, I find myself exactly where I should be, it seems, with the man I was meant to be with after all those years I spent searching and wondering. And I stand beside him so proudly. Sean is a person with great integrity and ability and intelligence; a person who cherishes me and thinks I’m pretty special, even when I don’t feel so special; a person who is forgiving, kind and generous in every way. He teaches me so much, not just because he’s so smart (seriously, he’s like a human calculator/GPS/Mr. Google), but because he’s the kind of person who lives selflessly and gives so freely, without judgment or reservation. I’m very grateful that I convinced this sweet, wonderful person to marry me. And it wasn’t even that hard.

Even more than that, I spend a lot of time thanking my lucky stars that I have such an incredible partner in parenting. I would have been happy that he passed on his cute genes and intelligence, along with his good eyesight (so far anyway), but to have someone so devoted to his kids — and I’ll admit it, they can be a handful — and engaged and present in their lives makes this journey all the sweeter. I don’t ever have to feel alone. And while I would expect no less, it's also easy to start taking it for granted, but I try hard not to. It's important to recognize when you've got it good and I want Sean to know how much I appreciate it all.

He's there for every game, every concert, every celebration. He builds enormous leaf piles and carves pumpkins and flies down the snow hills on toboggans. He gives them a run for their money at Princess Monopoly and fires the ball (aggressively!) in driveway hockey. He reads to them every night and attempts to do their hair (he does a pretty decent ponytail) and even sometimes gets the right clothes on the right kid. Anna told me that he plays Barbies way better than I do and I know for sure he’s better at hide-and-seek and ball tag. He somehow convinces them to watch baseball on TV. He knows everything they love and how to cheer them up and when to leave them be and they just totally, completely adore him. I hope they'll always know what an incredible dad they have.

And when I have a chance to get away with my girlfriends or just feel desperate for some respite, there’s never a second thought that he couldn’t manage or wouldn’t be willing to do whatever it took to give me the break I needed. That’s love, parent-style. And I do the same for him (as long as he’s not getting away with his girlfriends, we’re cool!).

In 10 years, we’ll have two teenaged girls (sorry, I just got a chill) and a million things about our life will be different. How? I have no idea. But all I really care about is that I’ll have him to hold on to through all of it. What’s that overused wedding quote about love not meaning to gaze at each other, but to gaze together in the same direction? Yeah, that.

But, as I mentioned, he’s pretty cute, so I’ll gaze at him, too.

This article was originally published on Jun 18, 2012

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