Though we have always shared every detail of our lives with each other, there’s something I’ve never told you. It’s a big something; one that I’ve thought about so many times since we began this parenthood journey together, but that I’ve never said aloud. On your second Father’s Day, I wanted you to finally hear it.
Each time the ultrasound tech pointed to the screen and declared our babies little boys, I felt palpable relief, finally letting go of the breath I hadn’t known I’d been holding for 20 long weeks.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s not that I wouldn’t have welcomed a little girl. Like so many pregnant women before me, I fantasized about twirly dresses and braiding blonde hair (in the fantasy, I knew how to braid), but the thought of double X chromosomes struck a deep, unshakeable fear in me. More than the braids and bows, I thought of how I’d screw them up—these precious, pristine little girls who would be born to a mother with a past full of debilitating insecurities.
So when we walked out the doctor’s office each time, clutching the undeniable photographic evidence of our male offspring, I was relieved. Because, amidst all the hazy unknown of pregnancy and eventual parenthood, one thing was perfectly clear in my mind: these boys would be raised by the best example of manhood I’ve ever known.
You who will teach them what it means to be a real man—not the macho kind who never cries, who has to talk the loudest to be heard and is only funny when the joke is at another’s expense—the kind who cries when he reads his vows to his wife, whose steady voice commands a room full of people, who is laugh-out-loud funny without ever having to try.
From you, our boys will learn sincerity, self-possession and humility so they can mirror your perfect blend of genuinely self-assured charmer and modestly unpretentious hardworker. They will always know exactly who they are, without apology, because they were raised by a man who has never tried to be anything but himself.
Our boys will grow up to understand what real, unwavering love looks like in practice because you were there to show them. They will come to understand that, yes, love is their parents’ embarrassing public displays of affection, but it’s also respect, loyalty, forgiveness and driving to China Pavilion at 9 PM because your pregnant wife cannot make it through the night without an egg roll.
From you, our sons will learn to respect their mother, the way you respect yours. You will show them that I am deserving of their admiration and obedience through the simple, honest way you value me. They will grow to understand that there is no sense trying to pit one of us against the other, because we are a united front and that genuine respect means you listen to your mother, even when she’s being crazy and irrational.
One day, many years from now, you will teach our boys about romance, about finding a partner and treating them well. You will help them understand that romance is not about grand gestures or red roses by the dozen or even about sex (though that will come with the right person); it’s about the simple things that show the person you love how you feel: starting their car in the winter, sharing your dinner even when your entrée is really, really good and hers kind of sucks, whispering encouragement into her ear while brings your babies into the world. I already know that our sons will become great husbands someday, because of the great husband their father is.
One day, maybe we will add a little girl to our lives—only God knows that plan. But for now, I’m so glad to be a mother to two boys. Boys who will grow up to be just like the best man I know.
Happy Father’s Day to an incredible father.
I love you,
Your grateful wife