Over the holidays, my daughter's kindergarten class did a project in which children answered the question, 'What does your light shine for?' They attached their sweet quotes to candles they decorated in school. To my delight, her response was, 'My light shines for giving my mom hugs.' I beamed as I took her home from school that day. I told her how much I appreciated that she thought of me for such a special occasion. Then she stopped and looked right at me and replied. 'Thanks Mommy. I wrote that because I know you're chopped liver at our house.' I laughed because it's the truth. I am chopped liver at our house.
Sure when my 3 kids are hungry or sick, or they need help with homework or finding their soccer socks, they call 'mommy' as if they were lost at Disney World. But for the fun stuff, Daddy is king. He has the magic touch which makes our day to day more exciting, and makes the tough times more bearable. And when it comes to our kids, he's all in.
Daddy is the best playmate. He's always ready to play with the kids, whether he's throwing a football at the playground or making crafts in our kitchen. He plays every board game you can imagine: Chess, Monopoly, Hedbanz, Spot It, Settlers of Catan. You name it, he's ready. Card games too. Although recently he taught them how to play poker. He says it will help them with their math skills. Right. But he's the one who gets in the pool and plays marco polo with them. He's the one who jumps the waves in the ocean on our beach vacations. He's the one who takes the kids on bike rides and day trips. I play with the kids too. But they'll tell you, it's just not the same.
When it comes to being an awesome father, it's not just about the fun and games. What I really admire about my husband is that he's not afraid to tackle the tough questions. Let's start with all the 'whys?' You know these. Why do we have two eyes but only one nose? Why was I born a human and not a squirrel? Why does broccoli have to be good for you but not ice cream? These questions require thought, sensitivity and humor, which he has in spades.
But as our kids grow older, the questions get tougher and more serious. Why did they allow segregation? Why are guns legal? Why are there homeless people on the street? There are no easy answers and often their conversations lead to more questions. But he always takes the time to talk to them about whatever is on their minds. No issue is too big or too small. He doesn't offer 'safe' answers. He provides conscientious, measured responses that give the kids room to think for themselves and develop their own ideas. Sometimes, he doesn't have all the answers and he's not afraid to admit that either. I believe there is magic in those Daddy talks. And I believe his wise words will echo in our kids' hearts and minds as they keep growing, so they can then share the magic with those around them.