Something changes in a man's heart when he becomes a father and the moment you become a mother you feel honored and blessed to witness this transformation. Of course both men and women begin changing their lives when they know they are expecting but the way men and women respond to the moment of birth is unique to their gender; completely raw and beautiful. For Father's Day let's celebrate men who step into fatherhood and being dads...
Obviously there are always exceptions to every rule but we can all agree that having a child demonstrates who someone really is; whether the parent truly shows up or runs away, they are still demonstrating who they really are. You see, the thing about kids is, they keep everything real. You will be forced to face who you are including all the imperfect, embarrassing and ugly parts of who you are, whether your child realizes it or not - your kids are the ultimate mirror.
I first witnessed the transformation of how a man can love in my then husband when our son was born. My son's dad was so in love with our little boy, even before he was born, the doctor had to kindly ask him to get out of the way because he was so eager to meet him. The moment my son's dad held our son nothing else existed in the entire world but the two of them. I witnessed his heart vowing to that tiny baby boy to do and be everything for him and to right every single wrong from that moment on. In that moment I knew that no matter the hardships of our marriage we came together for that little boy and we would do a hell of a job co-parenting him because we always would respect the love we shared for this tiny human. Not long after, I witnessed my younger brother start a family of his own; he too left me in awe of how devoted he was to his kids. My brother has an amazing talent in being constantly engaged, gentle and kind, even when upset or angry.
My standards were blind when I was young. I didn't get to see the change in my father when I was born, I only knew the gentle and kind dad that worked all the time. I only knew the man who was never violent and whose perspectives were more important to me than anyone's on earth. He has a way of staying silent until he has a very clear and direct perspective to offer and when he decided to speak, everyone would listen, and then he would retreat back into his mind castle. I was so in awe of him that I didn't understand how different men could be, I had no real frame of reference.
Recently I was telling my brother about the man I had begun seeing and my brother asked one question, "What does he talk about the most?" This question made my heart skip a beat and took my breath away for a moment because the answer was, "His kids". This question brought so much together for me. When you're a mother and you date any man who doesn't have children there is a void in every interaction. You can't explain to people who don't have children what that void is nor do you need to. This thing that happens when a man has a child, when he accepts and feels this sense of sacred duty for this new life, it expands him. He begins to learn a healthy balance of selflessness and self-care and remains continually challenged by this for the rest of his life. To witness a dad meet their child where they are at in life, from tenderness at birth, to getting silly and messy with them in childhood, challenging their growth as they become teenagers, and guiding them into adulthood with their wisdom - as a mother, I ask you, is there anything sexier?!
In only a few months of getting to know a man who is a devoted dad, hearing him talk about his kids and his family and all his hopes and dreams for them I remember why I set the bar as I high as I did. My dad and my brother aren't the only men who know how to love in different ways. My dad and brother aren't the only men who used fatherhood as an opportunity to become greater versions of themselves. My dad and brother aren't the only men that have learned to apply the lessons fatherhood offers into all manners of life. There is so much strength and courage in a love this powerful and when a man applies all of what he's learned into other relationships everyone wins.
For the first time in my life I feel home wherever I am because I know that only I can give that to myself but when I'm with this man, this father, I am reminded of that feeling because he carries it with him. He offers the wisdom and stability his family needs when they need it and he makes everyone he loves feel that sense of home and belonging. This is what dads do, no matter how much time changes things, they remind the women in their life what home should feel like, they are our bearing point, our compass, our constant.
So to all the fathers who do their best to be the best dads they can be, regardless of the family context as defined by blood, law or anything else, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Happy Father's Day!
Micah's confessions and lessons that have helped with self-forgiveness, healing and acceptance.