When Caroline and I were dating, one of the things that attracted me most to her was the way she communicated with Alli (then 4 – or was she 3?), and I remember being a bit surprised by that. That I was attracted to her Mom-ness, if you will. But there was no denying it. Something about the way she spoke to her toddler was very appealing to me. And not in a creepy way, mind you. In a wholesome way. In an “I’d be so lucky to have a wife who was that good of a mother to my kids” kinda way.
Fast forward a few years and I thought the exact same thing as I witnessed her interacting with the tiny and tumultuous trio, only multiplied by a factor of, like, 100. Because our wee threesome were itty bitty infants, which meant her communication with them was on an even more base level than was the communication with Alli that I’d admired so.
But in either case, it wasn’t necessarily the way Caroline spoke to her children that I found so beautiful. It was the bond she had with them. The way they responded to her. The reactions she elicited. The smiles she brought to their faces. Their eyes. Their hearts.
I could see each of these smiles, you know. And feel ‘em all too. In a place deep down inside. Exactly where I, I’m unsure except to say that I’m certain it was very near the sacred place that houses my soul. If not smack dab in the middle of it.
There are many dads out there who contend there is virtually no difference between their capacity as a parent and that of their spouses. At least that’s what I think some dads are contending. And maybe in their household, that’s the truth. But I could never say the same.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m incredibly proud of who I am as a father. And I do my best to be 100% emotionally available and totally plugged into the lives of all my children. And I think I’m a good dad. And I also think I’m as good of a parent as Caroline.
But believe you me, there’s a very real difference between my capacity as a parent and Caroline’s. Just as there are very real differences between men and women, so too, I would contend, are there very real differences between moms and dads. And the last thing I’d ever wanna do is say “I am Dad but I can be Mom, too.”
Because I can’t be. And what’s more, I’d never wanna be. Because try as I might, I just can’t do this, y’all. Not like her.
And, just to be clear, by “this” I don’t mean feeding Luke. Because I can and totally do do that. But that whole Mom thing Caroline’s got going on? The way she’s got little Luke hypnotized? THAT’S what I can’t do.
I’m good with being a dad, y’all. Real good. And I feel so lucky to get to be a dad to Luke. To see another baby walk through the ranks.
And to once again have the privilege to marvel at the beauty of the bond between a baby and his mama.