On Father's Day: 'How do I love thee?'
MANILA, Philippines - Being a father isn’t just about providing your children with shelter, clothes and food so they can thrive; it’s not just about giving them the gift of their education. Rather, it’s about teaching your children how to live this life we are given.
Being a father is still so much more than that: it’s about being a quiet force when needed, a constant and, at times, a friend.
Raising children is one of the hardest jobs in the world. On Father’s Day, I am grateful because I know my husband and I are a tag team in this job. Parenting together, we provide all these and more for our children. I’m sure many would agree that parenthood is easier when done in tandem.
I do little things throughout the year to honor my husband because he is the father of my children, but Father’s Day is the one day out of the year (besides his birthday) reserved solely for him. I have admired my husband, quietly, as I have witnessed him grow in his fatherhood…grow in each of these small moments that are etched in my memory as my kids have grown with him.
I have seen the imagination and inventiveness with which my husband guides and fosters creativity in our children. Whether it is helping our eldest with her school science project, or spending hours on the rolling waves of the ocean (in our living room) keeping safe in the ship that the boys have built from sofa cushions so that the imaginary sharks will not get a tasty treat.
I have seen my husband build a fort made of sheets so that our boys can play "Nerf war" on a rainy day as they are stuck inside because school has been cancelled for the 3rd day in a row.
I love the room my husband gives our children to explore by introducing new experiences that will expand their understanding not just of the world around them, but also of their heritage and the country that they are growing up in.
I value the encouragement my husband provides when the kids aren’t so sure of themselves in new situations, and the positive reinforcement that pushes our kids forward in achieving their goals in school and athletics.
I love the sensitivity with which he now approaches our teenage daughter. When we knew we were going to have a girl all those years ago, we loved the idea of “daddy-daughter dates.” His commitment to this activity is more important now, as she is navigating her way through adolescence.
I understand the firmness with which he guides our sons. He takes the time to explain the answers to their many questions, being mindful that they often repeat things at the most inopportune times.
I admire how he teaches my children it's okay to be vulnerable. Yes, I’m sure they will think their Dad is Superman for some more time still, but the fact that they know that their dad is human and has feelings as well is just as important in their development and understanding of their emotions and self-esteem.
When we were new parents, I learned early on that Nino was calm and collected in medical emergencies. It was the first time our then toddler fell, and she was bleeding profusely from the mouth injury she sustained on a sharp object.
Teary eyed, I witnessed his quick resolve and reaction to the situation while I was paralyzed to do anything but panic and try to catch my breath. He calmed Gia down, began icing her injury and assessed immediately whether or not we should bring her to the hospital for stitches. Luckily, she didn’t need any.
I appreciate his ability to listen to his intuition. It doesn’t happen often, but there’s rarely a time when he asked our family to listen to his gut feel when he wasn’t right. Yes, I know I listen to my mother’s instincts when I feel my child is cold or hungry or not feeling well, but his gut feel seems to be so much sharper and honed, that I dare say I would not question it, when Nino expresses “a feeling” concerning the children.
I’m blessed that my husband’s faith was so much deeper than mine when we were handed the news that our 4th child was special. He held me up until I was able to find my footing in my faith again.
He stood strong as the head of our family when I needed him to toe the line. He allowed me to feel the sorrow and disappointment while I mourned the idea of the daughter I thought I was going to have, and instead, he loved the daughter we were given, enough for both of us.
When you have a partner who can read a situation, react quickly and then make up for your misgivings or flaws, it really makes parenting just a little bit easier.
On Father’s Day, I am grateful for my true partner in parenting, for if it takes a village to raise a child, it’s much easier to manage the madness when you know you have a teammate and partner by your side. - Rappler.com
Michelle Aventajado is a Filipina American who grew up in NY and now makes Manila her home. When she's not busy raising her 4 children, she enjoys teaching, reading and writing about her passions. Follow her blog Momma 'N Manila as she documents her adventures and growth in parenting.