La La How The Life Goes On

Abba, Baba, Papa

Posted on: June 15, 2014

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Recognizing that many families rock the world without dads, with two moms, with one mom, I’m writing this today from the perspective of a woman who grew up with a great dad. I have been extraordinarily fortunate in the father department, both as a daughter and as a mom married to a man who is an awesome father to our girls.

So, in honor of these two remarkable men, I’ve compiled my totally incomplete and wholly inadequate list of

THE TOP FIVE QUALITIES OF A FANTASTIC FATHER

5. No bitchassness.
Fantastic fathers do their damn jobs without making it all about themselves. Without blaming others for their problems. Without getting passive-aggressive when the going gets tough. Fantastic fathers understand that their job description kind of sucks–and they DO IT ANYWAY. With courage, enthusiasm, integrity and good humor.

4. No excuses.
Fantastic fathers make no excuses for themselves or for their children. My dad never allowed us a single cop-out. Not one. If we messed up, we had to own it. Sometimes that meant hearing about it for days and weeks on freakin’ end. Other times it meant getting screamed at for 5 minutes then being absolved immediately. It absolutely made for uncomfortable awkward situations–and he could not have cared less. If we were busted by a neighbor or teacher for bad behavior he made no excuses for us, no demands that our accuser back down and behold his precious children. Nope. We were in deep sh*t and that was that. No excuses.

3. Leadership by example.
My father’s loquaciousness was legendary. His ability to talk to anyone and anything unrivaled. But when I ponder the most important lessons he taught me, I realize that I learned them all through his actions. He loved my mom. I saw it in his eyes and his demeanor. (I of course found it simultaneously skin-crawlingly gross and deeply solidly reassuring.) I saw through his actions how a man should treat a woman. I saw the consequences that befell anyone who disrespected that woman (“What did you just say to your mother?!” Words you did not ever want to hear because you knew they preceded a very sound ass-kicking). He admitted when he was wrong. He helped out neighbors with rides or home improvement or just having them over for a whiskey. Most importantly, his leadership philosophy was simple: “I am the leader of this household–and I have my wife’s permission to say so.”

2. 100% commitment to his children.
The BabyDaddy (my sweet husband), I’m certain, gains minimal joy from playing the role of Pinkie Pie in today’s iteration of My Little Pony: Daddies Are Magic. But he does it. No, he doesn’t just do it. He sells it. He commits to it. He OWNS it. BabyDaddy werqs it. He brings the same enthusiasm and genuine love to this minor interaction that he does to every single fatherly responsibility he holds. He’s not checking his IPhone at the playground. He’s not “squeezing in quality time” with his kids. He’s in it; for the good, the bad and the fugly. He even bows out of Red Sox games at Fenway if he has been traveling too much and it will mean missing another bedtime with Baby Sister, who truly struggles when he travels. I’ll say that again: the man gives up tickets to the Red Sox to read Frog and Toad Are Friends to his preschooler.

And the No. 1 Quality of a Fantastic Father is
1. No ego.
The BabyDaddy is confident enough in himself as a husband, father and man that he intrinsically understands that respect, trust and affection are EARNED. It minimizes his fatherhood and his crucial role in our lives not one bit to acknowledge that authority and power are not the same thing. That he does not have to abuse the latter in order to have the former. Raising decent humans is no easy assignment, and fantastic fathers understand the importance of compromise, understanding, and humility to the task. My girls love their father. My girls respect their father. My girls know EXACTLY how their father would feel about particular behaviors, situations and individuals without him having to say a word. His quiet, confident, no-bluster style radiates power, radiates confidence and radiates respect–for himself, for me and for his girls.

Those of us who get to see fantastic fathers work are the lucky ones. Whether you are a father, a father figure, or the lucky son or daughter of a wonderful father, may this be a day to remind ourselves that Great Dads Rule. And they have their wives’ permission to say so. 🙂

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1 Response to "Abba, Baba, Papa"

you and your girls are lucky ladies!

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