His hair was black, his eyes were green, his biceps were wow, and his brain was smart. I knew that much when I first laid eyes on him in law school. Yes, he was a good catch, although I did not cast my net at first. But the story of the first time we spoke and how we eventually fell in love are for another time. You’re probably thinking that today’s story is about Tom as a father. But it isn’t. The underlying protagonist in today’s tale is me. Me. Me. Me. And about how well I picked a father for my children.
Near the end of our first year in law school, during which time Tom and I had become good friends, we began dating. But it wasn’t until Tom
had jumped through flaming hoops to prove himself worthy and I became more serious about each other that he became part of Kristen and Courtney’s lives too. And when he did become part of their lives, he embraced his role as first a friend, and eventually a father, beyond my wildest dreams.
And so there was a wedding . . .
And following the wedding there were pastimes such as helping with homework, coaching basketball teams, dressing up like a Blues Brother to volunteer at the fifth-grade Halloween party, attending dance recitals, watching school plays, listening to Pink or Smash Mouth blaring from the stereo, burying deceased pets in the backyard, waiting up to ensure safe arrivals home from dates, sitting in the stands during volleyball games, cheering at water polo matches, and talking an angry dad out of calling the police when one of our daughters had helped TP his house.
So this man, who was raised with two
Neanderthals awesome brothers, went from a testosterone-charged environment filled with sports and crass humor to an estrogen-infused environment filled with tenderness and crass humor. Poor Tom was outnumbered three-to-one. Hence, it might be completely understandable that when I got pregnant, the idea might have crossed Tom’s mind that a boy child would be nice this time around. In fact, I think he may have envisioned days of watching the Superbowl with a little dude by his side, teaching his son to play chess, and watching the little lad breeze through math just like his father.
We decided that we wanted to know the gender of the baby ahead of time so that the
control freak baby inside of me could have a name and room decor and clothing picked out in advance of the birth. So on the day we showed up at the doctor’s office for the twenty-week ultrasound, I wondered what Tom would think if we found out that our baby was a girl. And, guess what? This is what the ultrasound revealed:
Sure, in advance of the ultrasound, Tom had assured me that he’d be happy either way, boy or girl. He said that he just wanted to have a healthy baby and all of that. He said all of the right things. But I couldn’t help
that my abandonment issues would kick in at full force but fret just a little that he might be disappointed, so I looked over at his face. And what I saw made me fall so much more madly in love with him than I could ever have imagined would be possible. Tom sat by my side and his tear-filled eyes were fixed upon that ultrasound picture of the baby who would be Laura with genuine and unabashed rapture. After we left the appointment, because at that point in time I had not yet had enough therapy to have learned to trust my own eyes and instincts I asked Tom if he had the chance to trade the fetus we had for a boy, would he do it. And he took my hand and looked into my eyes and said the words that I will never forget for the rest of my life, “I wouldn’t change a thing, don’t you know that? I already love this baby.” And today? Together they watch the Superbowl, play chess, and work on fractions, ratios, formulas and exponents.
And so I say to this man, this man whom I picked so well to be the father of our three children because mother knows best, this man who chose two of his daughters and created one, Happy Father’s Day. You deserve it.