Dads

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Tonight my little boy buried his face in his daddy’s belly and declared: “You’re so furry daddy.”
He proceeded to wrap his little arms around his dad’s waist and squeeze him with an ‘I’m so glad you’re home’ hug.

It was an adorable moment (although hubby was stood in the kitchen, having just returned from work, and Dan had inexplicably wanted to lift his shirt and hug his tummy. He’s a bit random this boy!).

But the moment really warmed my heart, to see that moment of pure love between a father and his boy – and I could see from hubby’s face that it absolutely made his day.

Dad’s, I think, don’t get enough good press.

Hubby and Dan have a ‘difficult’ relationship. Daniel is a mummy’s boy. No two ways about it. And I know hubby finds that really hard. ‘He’s nearly six years old’ he’s thinking. ‘Isn’t it time he started adoring his daddy and we do boy stuff together? ‘ Why aren’t I good enough when he needs comfort?’
He never complains and never shows any outward sign that he’s hurting, but I know it must cut like nothing else.

Sure, they do the boy stuff. Hubby takes him to tag rugby every Saturday morning. They play fight, they build stuff together and daddy teaches him important stuff, like when his elderly great grandma is visiting it’s NOT a good idea to ask loudly if there is a bone in your willy because it goes a bit hard sometimes.

Hubby works. He works really hard because he feels that pressure to provide for his family. And because of that I think he misses out on the little things.

He misses the mad flurry that is tea time. He misses the chaotic joy that is bathtime. He misses quietly drying their hair. He misses all cuddling up together on one bed for storytime. He misses the smell of freshly washed children in warm pyjamas. And I know he feels that too.

But when they hug or when daddy makes it home in time for a bedtime story and Dan curls up on his lap, I know it means the world to my husband.
And that’s the trouble really. No one ever really considers a man’s feelings. When a good friend of mine lost her fourth pregnancy in a row, all sympathy was directed towards her.
Her husband, a quiet, sensitive man who now utterly adores his two daughters, was left to comfort himself. He may not have physically lost those babies, but he felt the gripping pain of loss of every single one of them and he also felt the considerable weight of his wife’s emotional devastation.
Sure they’re through it now and are a blissfully happy family, but I do look back on those times and wonder how he coped with the emptiness of being left alone to grieve.

You will hear many many mummy bloggers write about how hard it is having babies, looking after them, maybe working as well, how tiring it is, how emotionally draining it is, how they want it all/don’t want it all.
But what about dad?

I know a few husbands (my own included) who have been through terrible times with stress from their job, pressure to provide and the constant struggle when they are at a really low ebb. They feel they must mask it and march on. It is almost passed off as ‘oh he’s just off sorts, he’ll pull through’. It’s only when they finally come through the other end that they realise just what they have been through.

NOTE: I just thought I should point out that dads/husbands/partners/ whatever, don’t get it right all the time. Witness this exchange.
Hubby: “Why haven’t you washed my shirts?”
Me: “Because it’s not my job.”
Hubby: “But I’ve been busy.”
Me: “That’s so funny, cause so have I. After dressing, feeding and entertaining the children this morning I also managed to fit in going to the supermarket, changing all the bedding and a spot of ironing. I thought I’d leave a couple of minutes free this afternoon for breathing if that’s OK with you?”
Hubby: “There’s no need to be unreasonable.”
Me: “No my love. ‘Wash your own damn shirts because I’m sitting on my arse all day watching back to back reruns of Lost’, now that’s unreasonable.”

He washed his own shirts, learned a valuable lesson and even brought me a cup of tea. He did have to ask me how the washing machine worked though . . .

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