For the longest time, Jackson called Jeff “Papa”. ”Papa, carry me. Papa, wake me up. Papa, Papa, Papaaaaa!” (OK, so he called him “Jeff” too for about a year, but Papa has a much sweeter ring to it, no?) I’m feeling a little sentimental on this quiet afternoon before Father’s Day thinking about what a fantastic father my husband is. Jackson lucked out in the Papa department that’s for sure.
I never really realized how significant the father-child relationship was until now. Jeff’s attention is necessary for Jackson’s social-emotional well being. The gentle touch, firm voice, kind smile, high-five, shared story, rough play, praise and encouragement…. all of it necessary. And as a mother, I am thankful for every bit of it. I am in awe of this man and all men who make fatherhood a priority and take this most important job seriously.
The pure happiness and joy Jackson feels when he is with Jeff is beyond measure. There is no fear or anxiety or guilt or disappointment, only joy. A connection both simple and complex.
Jeff is playful, adventurous and loves the great outdoors almost as much as Jackson does. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night… Seriously, there isn’t anything these boys don’t do together. The time a father spends with his child is precious. It means something. Oh how I admire Jackson’s father and all fathers who devote time and energy to really being with their children. In the moment. No cell phones, no computers. Intentional interaction.
Just look at them… They look alike don’t they? They walk alike and have the same expression and mannerisms. Big and little. Little and big. OK, maybe not so little but littler than big. (For now.) I love them both with all my heart. How wonderful that as a mother, I get a little glimpse into the secret society of fatherhood. If I squint and look at this picture just right, I can almost see Jackson walking on the beach with his son trailing along behind him. I hope so. He will have learned from the best.
Happy Father’s Day to the most wonderful Papa I know. And Happy Father’s Day to ALL of the fabulous Papas who make this world a better place. You are loved and appreciated.