It’s Father’s Day, and I had every intention of writing a post about my dad. But as I sat down to write, I was overwhelmed with thoughts about another father in my life: Mr. B.
Last year at this time, I surprised Mr. B with a gas grill for his first-ever Father’s Day. With Pickle still tucked safely inside me, Mr. B and I ate some delicious grilled food and talked about what it was going to mean to be parents. At that point we knew about Penelope Joy’s serious heart defect — all of the rest of her problems would remain a surprise until after she was born — and we knew it would be a tough road. Hand in hand, though, we knew we could face anything.
Fast forward one year — through a lot of ups and many more downs — and we find ourselves in a similar, though slightly altered, situation. I am, once again, pregnant on Father’s Day. There isn’t a new grill, but we do celebrate, excited as we talk about what our future holds. Excited to celebrate Mr. B on Father’s Day. But we’re also still grieving the loss of Penelope Joy. (In case you’re curious, by the way, we will always be grieving the loss of Penelope Joy.)
And as I think about fathers and Father’s Day, I can’t help but reflect on the past year and look forward to the future; I can’t help but think about what fatherhood really is.
Being a father is about being there. No matter what. It’s about showing up every day — through the good times and the bad times. And the really, really bad times. It’s about being your child’s advocate. And loving your child through everything. It is also about knowing when it’s time to tell the doctors your daughter has suffered enough.
There is nothing that compared to the love I saw in Mr. B’s eyes every single time he looked at Penelope Joy — and every time we talk about her to this day. So on Father’s Day, I’m full of awe and amazement at the man I am so blessed to call husband — who our children are blessed to have as their dad. I have fallen so much more in love with him as I’ve watched him be a father to Penelope Joy, as I watch him keep her memory alive. And I cannot wait to watch him be a father to Sprout.
On this day, Mr. B, I want you to know that I treasure our relationship. For its honesty and realness. For its hope and faith. For its ugliness. And for its beauty. Mostly, though, I treasure it for its love. And on Father’s Day, I want you to know:
I never would have chosen the difficult path we’ve walked over the last year. But I also couldn’t have chosen a better partner for the journey. Your strength held me up, just as it held up Penelope Joy. She could not have had a better father. I loved watching you hold her and bathe her — your hands were so gentle (even though they looked like beasts next to Penelope Joy’s tiny body). And I will always remember the first time you (proudly!) changed her diaper and the way you protected her toes from my tickles. Every time you looked at her, your eyes filled with a warmth and a love that took over the whole room. The way her eyes traced you as you moved around the room proved one thing: not only was she your world, you were hers. Thank you for helping to fill her short life with your fatherly love and devotion — she definitely knew you belonged to her.
I am so blessed to be on this journey with you, and I cannot wait to watch you be dad to our little Sprout, showering him/her with your love. Sprout is the luckiest kiddo to get you for a dad. I am so proud to be your partner and so glad you are the father of my children. I hope you know every day, and on this day especially, how very much I love you and how very happy I am to have you by my side. Happy Father’s Day, G.B.