I got pulled into the photo albums yesterday while looking for that sweater photo. I found this one, too, which I love so very much. It was somewhere around the first Father's Day, seven years ago. It's a scene so familiar from that time - in the early days of parenting, as we figured out what we were supposed to do and how, I remember so very many 2, 3, 4 am fully-awake moments - with a baby lying on a sheepskin and Steve giving a midnight serenade with his guitar. After Mama was 'nursed out', we didn't know what else to do, and this worked. And if it didn't, there were the walks around the kitchen table he gave, reading his worn and treasured copy of Alice in Wonderland to our six month old, lulling them back to sleep with his gentle voice. So many nights, so many different calming things.
The sling that he's carried all of our babies in just recently came
to my studio in need of repair. It is, in fact, beyond repair this
time. It is worn, and completely torn from seven straight years of daily use - seven years of those midnight walks back-to-sleep, with the sound of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Portishead or sometimes a Red Sox game humming from the radio. Seven years of mid-day 'escapes' from the world for our little ones, where they've found comfort, love and the steady rhythm of Papa to soothe them back to 'home', back to themselves. It's the same steady rhythm that guides them long after they've left the sling - through the trials and joys of every single day. I watch as one discovers baseball - a sport Papa loves and knows so much about. And yet - the 'coaching' comes in the form of quiet and strong patience, as he throws the asked-for pitches over and over and over again, eases in a gentle word here or there about stance, and breathes the message to our competitive little one, that it's about the joy of the game, and the work..and believing that with every ounce of his being.
Watching this man become a father has been one of the truest honors of my life, and is the greatest inspiration to me in being the Mama that I want to be. Though we tossed ourselves into the game with little time to prepare, making the transition to 'Papa' appeared to be - for him - as effortless and natural as if he had been preparing for the role for all of his 30 years prior. I think he had, in so many ways - all those rivers run, all those snowy mountains, and all those many, many roads traveled. They all led him here, and taught him everything he needed to know about what's important, about life, and about breathe in the every single moment - especially the hard ones. Sometimes I hear people ask him if he misses what was 'before,' and his answer fills me with such peace and groundedness each time. He loves where he is right now. We're so glad for that.
Happy Papa's Day, Steve!
Wishing all the Papas, Dads, Pops, and Fathers a very special Father's Day weekend surrounded by those you love!