Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Reflecting on Father's Day

I always knew (hoped?) that I'd like being a mother. I knew I'd love a child and hoped I'd been a good one. I expected to feel love at a depth I hadn't before, though it seemed impossible to love more than I already did. As it turns out, I do like being a mother, do love my child beyond the ability to express it and I think I'm doing a fairly good job at it. I still find it amusing the unbelievably immense joy I get at the simplest things, though.

Over the weekend, David was using my laptop to look something up. He rarely uses my computer, so I guess this seemed unusual to Robbie. He climbed up behind David and looked over his shoulder and asked "Daddy, what doin'?" Joy. It was the first really inquisitive question I'd heard him utter, and the novelty made me giggle with pleasure.

At another point, he was eating his lunch very slowly. I had remained at the table, keeping him company while David got up and cleaned up a bit. After David was gone, he came behind me and was rubbing my shoulders. (God bless him.) Robbie didn't understand though, and got very upset, standing in his chair and putting his hands up. "NO DADDY! Stop huwting Mommy!" My little knight in shining armor was there to protect me. (Don't worry we explained that Mommy LIKES massages and he settled right down.)  My soul just melted.

But even more surprising than the intensity of those simple joys is the way that he's helped me love other people more. I do think that I'm more compassionate than I was before his birth, but I mean in a more direct way- the way that I see both my husband and my father.

As much as I love both Robbie and my husband, I love them both even more when I hear their conversations. David was recently telling Robbie about how he was going to take him to a baseball game and how much he was looking forward to teaching him all about the game, and showing him how to swing a bat and throw a ball. He gets so excited when he talks about taking Robbie camping (That's a daddy-kid thing. I don't camp. Call me at the spa if you need me.) that it just makes my heart soar.

Seeing my own dad as a grandfather has been another area I didn't expect to enjoy so much. My dad was a good dad, anyway. He raised me without a mother and while he certainly wasn't perfect, I never doubted how much loved me or how proud of me he was. That's as good a legacy as it gets, I think.

And man, does he love Robbie. Sometimes to their own detriment since neither seems to understand limits. My dad will crawl around in the floor until he can't stand or throw Robbie up in the air until his arms give out, but if Robbie wants more- more he will get. They both also frequently get scolded for getting a little too rowdy in public. Manners are important.

There isn't a week that goes by that my dad doesn't call and ask if he can come over- he's found some special treasure Robbie just has to have. It might be a book, or a puzzle or a train, but "it just fell in the cart!"

The relationship between all of them (David, my dad & Robbie) has been more slowly built than the relationship between Robbie and me. I think as a mother, my instinct to nurture, and probably the hormones, let to a quicker connection. But with the guys, it's come more and more with time. I found it a little frustrating in the beginning.

My dad would pace in the NICU. I don't think he sat down one time in 96 days. He made it his personal mission to cater than anything David or I needed, but was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. He had no desire to hold Robbie at all. It wasn't until Robbie was home and my dad was seated, that I pretty much threw Robbie in his arms and said "here!" that he did it. And then I thought he might actually hyperventilate.

David just looked frustrated a lot. He didn't know what to do. God forbid I didn't know the answer either- total panic. He's not good in situations that are unfamiliar and Robbie was unfamiliar in a way that few experience.

But these days, they all have a very special bond. Robbie often asks for "Gampa" when he's trying to get out of doing something he doesn't want to. I have to avoid even mentioning that he's coming over until he's here because Robbie will go to the door and refuse to move for hours if he knows Grandpa is expected. Robbie usually asks for his dad in the morning "Daddy! Daaadddy? WHERE ARE YOU?" and then remind himself "Daddy's at work!" during the week. It's a special treat to see how much he loves the men in his life.

What I know for sure is that I am very lucky to have all three of them in mine.



Heather said...

Very sweet post! I know exactly what you mean. I love watching my kids interact with their Daddy and grandparents.

A and W mom said...

I love this post. <3

S said...

So sweet!! I never knew that you grew up with you Dad. My Mom also grew up with only her Dad (which was very rare in the 1950's). It has always amazed me how wonderfully my Mother, Mothers me since she grew up without a female influence. I'm sure that one day your babies will think the same thing about you!!

Trish said...

Yes, S.
My mother left when I was 2. My dad's awesome. :)