Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

On Motherhood: Finding the Right Father

Jackson turns six months old on Monday — the same day his father turns 42. Six months ago, he was a tiny, itty bitty thing — only five pounds! — with thin, wrinkled skin, and nothing where his eyelashes and eyebrows would eventually grow. He almost fit into the palm of my hand and for the first three weeks of his life, I worried that he could stop breathing at any time. At night, instead of sleeping, I hovered over him, watching his chest rise and fall, willing myself to stay awake in case he needed me.

His father, of course, was right there beside us, staying awake through the night, bottle-feeding Jackson and changing his diapers, grinning ear-to-ear through the fog of sleep deprivation. He had waited so long to become a dad and as excited as he was to find me, to fall in love and become a husband, fatherhood was the topping, the thing that gave his life its richest meaning. And, boy, does he love it.

In Missouri over the weekend, as my grandmother and my aunt watched Drew dote on Jackson, they reminded me over and over how lucky I am to have a husband who is so committed to our baby — so hands-on in the daily details of parenting. And as appreciative as I am — and I truly am! — in these modern times, I would hope that a father like Drew would not be an anomaly. Yes, he gets up with him every single night. He takes over the second he gets home from work — not because I’ve asked, but because he wants to. He reads to him every day, and walks with him, and tells him stories about his family. And, yes, he even gives me a weekend off to fly to Chicago to see my friends while he stays home and takes care of Jackson all by himself for three days straight. I love him for it, and I’m grateful, but he should not be an anomaly.

As Jackson closes in on six months with us, he’s going through an intense developmental stage. He’s this close to sitting up by himself, and his teeth are fighting with all their might to break through his gums, and he’s dragging himself around our apartment trying desperately to crawl, and just this past weekend, as we sat with my grandma and grandpa and aunt (they all live together) at the breakfast table, Jackson looked at Drew and as clear as day said, “Dada!” We all whooped and hollered and clapped our hands, and egged on by our enthusiasm, he said it again and again. “Dada, Dada, Dada!” he exclaimed, smiling his big Jackson smile.

And the look on Drew’s face — well, it was worth the agony of those first three weeks I was afraid to sleep. It was worth the traumatic labor, and the multiple hospital stays in my third trimester, and it was worth the frogs I had to kiss before I found him.

“Did you always know you’d like being a mother so well?” my aunt asked me over the weekend.

“Oh, yeah,” I answered, because even in the back on my mind when I imagined I could be perfectly content never having kids, I knew I was meant to be a mom some day. “I just wanted to wait until I found the right father for my kids,” I replied.

And I did.

Happy birthday to both my boys!

16 comments… add one
  • avatar

    PFG-SCR April 6, 2012, 12:09 pm

    Beautiful piece, Wendy.

    I absolutely love these essays that you’ve been writing since Jackson was born.

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    Quincey April 6, 2012, 12:10 pm

    LOVING this picture. You have a beautiful family.

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    jlyfsh April 6, 2012, 12:11 pm

    Such a sweet piece, Wendy. And I love the hats! 🙂

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey April 6, 2012, 12:18 pm

    Beautiful writing, Wendy. And I agree, the kind of father Drew is shouldn’t be a rarity.

    Also — How cute is that picture?! I love Jackson’s body language in the picture. It’s like he’s saying, “eh, whaddya gonna do?”

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  • avatar

    Taylor April 6, 2012, 3:50 pm

    Gorgeous…the essay, the photo, all of it! Have an awesome weekend with your happy family =)

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark April 6, 2012, 5:27 pm

    You chose VERY wisely. I wish more and more people would take the trouble to do the same! 🙂

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  • SweetsAndBeats

    SweetsAndBeats April 6, 2012, 5:31 pm

    Really, Wendy, this is beautiful and exactly what I hope to someday be able to say and feel. It reminds me of a quote – “You should be with the kind of man you want your son to be just like.” You and Drew are a fantastic example of a way things can be done the right way! Jackson’s a very lucky little fellow.

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  • MELH

    MELH April 6, 2012, 7:02 pm

    Such an adorable picture! And Wendy, your writing is so beautiful I teared up! I know I’ve found the right Dad for my kids, I just have to wait until we’re at a place to have them.

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    Sue Jones April 6, 2012, 7:32 pm

    Awwww! Sweet!

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  • avatar

    Hannanas April 7, 2012, 6:26 am

    Beautiful piece, Wendy! Thank you for sharing 🙂

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  • avatar

    bgarrett April 8, 2012, 8:24 pm

    Its even more important to find a good MOTHER for your child. After my wife left me with boys 3 1/2 and 5, I raised my boys by myself. It was GREAT! My only complaint is that they grew up, graduated college and left home.

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  • avatar

    Cramoline Albumin Hogartieh III April 8, 2012, 8:48 pm

    Mark said it best: you chose wisely. That’s what I always tell people when choosing a mate with whom to settle down and be a family: “Choose wisely!”

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  • avatar

    John Blake April 8, 2012, 9:48 pm

    Found and married a lovely, cheerful soul at age forty-two… we’ve three terrific kids, including a biochemist daughter and two Eagle Scouts. Going on our thirtieth anniversary, Number One Daughter is marrying a super guy this October after dating since High School. We’re borderline financially, but fabulously rich in all that matters: Lord bless us, every one.

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  • avatar

    summerkitten26 April 9, 2012, 7:37 am

    I know I’m late to this party, but thank you for a delightfully touching essay! And that picture is positively darling!

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