After much convincing that these were, in fact, Grandma's blueberries, Ethan sampled a couple happily as he stirred little chubby handfuls of blueberries into the batter. After I announced loudly that daddy was sleeping and we had to wake him up, Ethan ran into our bedroom where my husband was pretending to sleep and helped me wake him up with our tray of homemade blueberry pancakes, grapefruit and strawberry slices, scrambled eggs and orange juice. And the whole thing almost worked like it had in my head, or on all of our trial runs. Well, almost.
Today, I just want to say happy father's day to my husband for pretending to be asleep for a ridiculous length of time as to not ruin Ethan's surprise; for being the kind of daddy I always imagined my future children having.
From the moment I first had Ethan and couldn't walk down the hallway without partially collapsing and throwing up, thank you for being his sole caretaker and never complaining about it, and never making me feel inferior. When Ethan was still new and I was scared to sleep in fear he'd stop breathing or someone would break through our windows and take him, stealthily enough to not set off our burglar alarm, thank you for acting like my staying up until 3 a.m. watching That '70's Show reruns and monitoring Ethan's breathing and presence in our home was the most normal thing in the world. And, more than that, thanks for waking up at 3 a.m. to continue monitoring his breathing so that I could go to sleep for the night. Thank you for not even taking the time to remove your work shoes or clothes before throwing yourself down on the floor for playtime with Ethan after work. Thank you for acting like it's never exasperating that I can never remember to put dinner in the crockpot and for acting like going out to dinner is just what you had in mind, anyway. Thank you for always understanding exactly what I do in terms of raising our son and for giving me the utmost credit, even when I'm all but curled up in the fetal position when you come home from work on those hard days. Thank you for acknowledging that raising our strongwilled-but-sweet little boy is a job, and a hard one, and for reminding me of this on days where I'm frustrated with most other people that exist in the world.
Thank you for sleeping on Ethan's hardwood floors when he has a bad dream even though you have to be up for work in a few hours. On that note, thank you for always bolting out of bed to assess his cries in the middle of the night when I sleep straight through the noise over the baby monitor -- and for assuring me I'm not a negligent parent when Ethan's cries don't wake me up. Thank you for always participating in Ethan's happiness no matter how messy or outlandish or chaotic it is. Thank you for letting his joy be your joy and sharing your joy with him as well. Thank you for taking him to the pet store and the guitar store and Home Depot and everywhere you go just to spend time together -- and thank you for loving to spend this time with him, every second of it, because he certainly loves to spend it with you.
Thank you for taking our son to the Hello Kitty store and never letting anyone say he doesn't want fairy dust sparkles in his hair, because of course he does and why wouldn't he? Thank you for all of the "fairy dust sparkles" incidents in the future, whatever they may be, where you let everyone know they're the weird ones, not our perfect little dude. Thank you for fighting for Ethan's happiness -- now, and always. Thank you for always being on his side and letting him grow into an adult through love, nurturing and unconditional love. Thank you for being the kind of daddy who will always show him how to listen to his heart, the kind of daddy who allows him to express his feelings and will always do your very best to try to understand. Thank you for being the kind of daddy who doesn't care if our son is an artist or plays sports or plays music or tap dances, so long as he is happy because his happiness is everything. Thank you for making Ethan never have to question just how loved he is. Thank you for being the kind of daddy that you are, the kind of daddy I always knew you would be.
I remember the first time we both didn't hate the idea of having children. Having been dating since we were fifteen, the idea of children, at one point, was more of a nightmare. I simply knew that I wanted to have a boy named after Ethan Embry and you were cool with that (cat's out of the bag, folks!) because it was a great name and, if we had a girl, we'd name her after Bob Dylan somehow. But the idea of kids? No thanks. Never, I'd say, making horrified faces and you'd do the same. "One day," everyone would say, "that will change. You'll see." It did. It changed in 2007, at the tail end of college, right before we got engaged, as we sat in a shoddy Dunkin Donuts lobby in Orlando drinking iced lattes and these two small toddlers were running around throwing straws at one another. "Those kids are funny," you said, and I agreed. They climbed on chairs, they spilled their milk, they yelled and cackled with laughter as they threw straws and chased one another around the store while their parents equal parts tuned them out and sat in embarrassment. I remember feeling that I should classify this behavior as annoying, horrible, another reason why I would never want children but suddenly, I no longer felt that way, and neither did you. "They're funny," you said again, before we left and I'll never be able to forget that day, or those children, the ones who served as some strange symbolism of a different part of us being awakened. We soon knew we wanted children, but I don't think either of us could have imagined how blissful the transition into parenthood truly is.
Thank you for being part of most of my life transitions, even the slippery ones. Thank you for the stories you read Ethan before he goes to bed and the way you'll do anything in your power to make sure you're there to brush his teeth and put him in his pajamas. Thank you for everything you have done for us and continue to do for us, every day. We both love you very much.