Fathers have a unique and important role to play in the lives of their children. Particularly, I believe in the lives of their boys. It seems to be something that Mothers just can’t give them, even though they might try.
When our son was in hospital, on the last night that he had to sleep there he asked if Daddy could sleep over that night. I had no problem with that as it meant I got to go home and shower, and have a comfortable nights sleep. As I left the hospital, despite knowing full well that my husband would take all care necessary of our son while I wasn’t there. I found myself issuing instructions such as…”if he wakes in the night, you need to wake up and stroke him. Make sure that if a nurse comes in to do anything to him, you ask what they are doing and then remember what they did…” My husband patiently allowed me to say all these things, and then my son suggested I might want to leave now. I walked out and to the car and was gripped by an irrational fear. It is extremely difficult to describe. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust my husband to do everything right. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the idea that he was going to do things his way and not my way (well it was a little bit of that!), it was something completely to do with myself. My difficulty in letting go. It was hard, but I did it.
Of course the next morning I wanted to know everything that had happened when I got to the hospital. It had all been uneventful. When he woke, my husband stroked his head to calm him down. When nurses did stuff, he asked what they were doing and remembered. He let my son watch TV until he fell asleep. He went and got him an ice block at 9pm just because he wanted one. Everything was fine. He did it all the Dad’s way. Lesson learned… I let go… a little.
My son and husband play this game where they go to his room and hit each other with pillows. It’s noisy. There is lots of laughing, screaming, jumping on the bed and general mess making. They call out ‘moves’ like “WING TIP!”, “LANDING GEAR!” and “PILE DRIVER!” I find it quite stressful, but I try to stay out of the room as my son is especially fond of this game and asks his Dad to do it as soon as he gets in from work.
Tonight, when my husband got home, I had just finished mowing the lawn and was quite grumpy and hot and tired. My son’s bandaids on his foot had come off again and he was complaining about them, so I was responding in quite a grumpy tone of voice to his insistence that I get new bandaids for it.
Hearing my tone, my husband assumed that my son had been annoying me all day, since I’m usually really patient and it takes a lot before I respond with that tone. He told my son that he better clean up ALL the mess in the lounge room while we finished up in the garden or there would be no pillow fight today. When we came in from the garden, the lounge room was beautifully clean. Not a toy in sight.
I informed my husband that our son had actually been really good all day except for a few ‘moments’, and that he had just caught me at a bad time. Being the good Daddy that he is, he went straight to our son and told him what I’d said, thanked him for not arguing with him when he had accused him of being naughty all day, and then said, “and now I’m going to SMASH you!” My fluttery heart jumped a beat and I turned around to see our son’s reaction to that…….
“Thank you Daddy! Let’s go!”
Off they went into the bedroom for a good hour of very noisy pillow fighting! Dad’s have their own way of doing things, but it’s important to let them do it their own way because kids just need to experience those differences in people. Hooray for Dads