I’m sure most women will agree with me that we all have, or have had at some point, a list of desirable attributes that we wish to find in the person we want to spend the rest of our lives with.
When I got married I didn’t have very much on my list – I was pretty laid back. However, I did have a love of children; I was always desperate to visit new babies when I was a child myself and I would shyly ask their mother’s if I could have a cuddle.
My husband and I were friends for several years before we entered a romantic relationship. While it is still up for debate as to who liked who first, one memory that stands out clear in my mind is being at church and witnessing a two-year-old break into a huge beaming smile after seeing Ebenezer, my husband. He toddled into Ebenezer’s arms before he was caught and lifted high up into the air. As he threw the toddler up, Ebenezer’s laughter and smile were genuine, and that image has always stayed with me.
Fast forward several years later, after the birth of our first child, my husband really stepped up to the plate and I saw him in a whole new light. My head was all over the place after I gave birth but, because I was deemed capable of knowing how to look after babies and children by family who knew me, I didn’t have a lot of practical support.
Whilst I was adjusting to the fog that my brain now consists of, my husband fed our baby expressed milk, woke up at night with her, bathed her in the traditional methods brought over from Africa and rocked her to sleep.
Even when mocked by other men for not upholding the stereotypical masculine standard of a hands-off policy – such as buying the nappies but never putting them on – he was unwavering in his duties as “daddy” and it grounded our newly-created, small family unit.
One child became two, and the constant refrain in our house is “daddy, daddy!” Our two girls adore their dad, and there is nothing lovelier than seeing them both cling to him and shriek in excitement as he whirls them around. Or to hear the sweet chorus of “Love you, Daddy” last thing at night when he puts them to bed.
“Father’s are important, whether they are our own father’s or father figures in the form of relatives, teachers or even fictional characters”
Although it has been 20 years, I still remember the heart-wrenching scene from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when Will was distressed on finding out that his father had let him down once again, and cried out “Why doesn’t he love me?” to the only father figure in his life.
Father’s are important. Whether they are our own father’s or father figures in the form of relatives, teachers or even fictional characters. Mother’s get all the love, and of course we need to give them recognition for all the tireless work they put in, but that doesn’t mean the role of a father should be set aside.
It is often said that women marry men like their fathers and I am very much a daddy’s girl. Growing up, it was always my dad and I against the world. When I was around 15-years-old I was walking through the estate I grew up in when a young man shouted out “Oi, beautiful!” I turned around and said, “yeah I know, my dad already told me this morning” with a cheeky grin.
It wasn’t that I was trying to be rude, but the security of having my dad in my life – particularly a dad who was willing to dish out compliments on a near daily basis – instilled a sense of confidence in me that wasn’t going to be shaken by rogue teenage boys.
Since we’ve been married my husband’s height has never contributed to the successful functioning of our household, nor has the shade of his skin or his physique. But his role as father strengthens us as a family.
I’m glad that, consciously or unconsciously, I settled down with someone who has the great character trait of being a reliable, strong father figure. Not only is he a father to our two girls but he also plays that role to other children who may not have a father in their lives.
It’s not uncommon for me to come home from work during half-term to find a bunch of teenagers sprawled across my living room being served imaginary tea by my two- and four-year-olds. Our home is an open house to anyone who needs support or refuge, and that’s all thanks to Ebenezer.
So, to my darling husband on Father’s Day, thanks for being the great dad you are. You’ve taught me that the love between a dad and his children gives both the kids security and contentment, and endless joy for the dad. It is such a beautiful bond and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for our family. And to father’s everywhere, thank you.