(Photo above courtesy of Lisset!)
I imagine that there are as many definitions of fatherhood as there are fathers. What makes someone a dad? Most agree that it’s more than just DNA; it’s his day-to-day actions and involvement. A speaker I heard on NPR a few weeks ago lamented the fact that he was expected to fulfill duties that HIS dad didn’t have to “deal” with — such “unpleasantries” as changing diapers and tending to a crying baby. The older generation, he said, was “lucky” enough to be limited to the role of glorified playmate.
Aside from feeling ecstatic that I’m not married to that guy, I’m also a little sorry for him. It seems like he’s missing something, don’t you think? He’s missing everything that my husband, father for only eight-and-a-half months, embraces with both hands.
From day one, Keith has been the champion diaperer. His ability to be simultaneously efficient and entertaining in front of the changing table is nothing short of inspirational. He can make Finn laugh in a matter of seconds with a repertoire of sound effects, feigned accents, and exaggerated facial expressions that will serve as a model for a lifetime (particularly good to have if Finn goes into acting, teaching, or, of course, parenting). Finn’s easy laughter and perceptive sense of humor most definitely spring from his father.
But it’s not just Keith’s efficiency and playfulness that make him a wonderful dad; it’s the time and attention that he dedicates to his son on a daily basis. He often bathes him, feeds him,rocks him, dances with him, dresses him; he wears him close to his heart in the Bjorn — on walks, in the house, out and about. He notices all of Finn’s new sounds and constantly changing likes and dislikes. He knows the difference between when he’s hungry or when he’s just tired. He can shoosh him to sleep with an expert sleepy dance in less than five minutes. Then he rushes in (regardless of how little sleep he’s had) the next morning to greet and chat with the baby, change the diaper, administer the vitamins, and sometimes put on the clothes (pants backwards). He is ready to do it all over again.
In my opinion, THAT is what makes a father. Finn is so lucky to have the one he does.