To the Underrated Dads

I don’t even feel comfortable thinking about writing about my dad, which really just means expressing my feelings about him.

Shoot. How sad. That means our culture surrounding men is so deeply conditioned that not only do men struggle expressing their emotions to others, but others also don’t express their emotions to men– unless it’s the lovey dovey stuff to a significant other.

Thank you for not only surviving that world, Nanna, but for breaking out of every habit you’ve adopted and perfected and instead learning how to actually speak about these funny things we call feelings. We want to hear what you have to say.

You sit on the sidelines while I Skype with Amma, can’t visit while your first granddaughter speaks her first word, occupied with providing for the family that’s now growing up. This is no small thing. It’s easy for me to forget to be grateful for the obvious gifts because they’re so… well, obvious. Thank you for handing over so much of your life in exchange for a paycheck so that Venkat and I always had a roof over our heads and the ability to explore whatever piqued our interest, from dissembling and reassembling radios to sculpting clay figurines. I may not have appreciated it at the time, but I can see more clearly what goes into it now that my husband is going through the same process.

And of course, thank you to the new father in town, Oliver, for that gift as well.

Thank you for taking it on faith that we were ready enough to be parents. Everyone is either unprepared or deluded and Zoe and I are lucky to have you. You bring a multitude of blessings into her life, not in the least of which are patience and a sense of humor.

Thank you for learning how to love Zoe with me whether she’s screaming at bed time, screaming on the changing table, or deciding to speak her first word– “Mommy”– on Father’s Day.

Thank you to my father and to my husband for continuing to fulfill your roles even when mothers get all the fuss and attention and credit. The world couldn’t function without you, much less laugh.

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