Let Him be Her Dad

(Last Updated On: November 12, 2015)

On this Father’s Day, I spent a lot of time thinking about dads, my dad, my step-father-in-law, my father-in-law and my daughter’s father. My husband spent much of our daughter’s first year in Iraq, from just days after we finalized her adoption until after she turned 15 months old.

I was her everything for that year. We had brief periods of visiting family, but very few and far between. It was the all mommy show all the time. It was hard in many ways, but it was also easy because I could do everything my way, which is the way I like it or I wouldn’t do it that way, obviously.

I didn’t have to be a wife. I just had to be the mommy.

Then he came home, a bit lost in this new little-girl-land after two boys. He almost didn’t know how to be with her, this tiny willful stranger. It was hard, his learning to fit in with us, us learning to let him back in. It is part of the returning from war people don’t really understand, the reintegrating after the reuniting.

I had to learn how to share her, how to share him, how to let him find his own way with her. Honoring my husband by letting him have his own relationship with our daughter. She already has a mom, let him be her dad. Heaven Not Harvard

We had to find our family normal again.

One of the lessons that I had to learn was to let him be her dad. He is going to do things I never would.┬áHe is going to tickle her until she screams and throw her too high in the air, and give her ice cream for dinner. He is going to discipline her when I just want to wipe her tears. He is going to kiss her cheeks until he leaves whisker burn because she loves his “grouchy whispers”, and someday, she is going to associate manhood with the way his cologne smells, like I do with my dad’s Old Spice.

He lets her style his hair with a penguin. He wears her jewelry and pretends he doesn’t see her when she hides under the covers on his side of the bed. They have daddy-daughter dates to fly kites. As much as I want to go with them, I know that is time for them. She held a kite soaring magically through the sky for the first time with him. He teaches her to take life less seriously, catch a bass, identify a bird as it flies overhead. Someday, he will probably teach her to hunt. He will be a window into a different world than mine.

My world is full of books and words, feelings and communicating, dancing and art, learning and education. It’s a good world, but it isn’t the only world. His world is full of animals, dirt, bugs, cooking, living outdoors, patriotism and honor.

And she needs them both, like she needs us both. And I need to love him and respect him and let him be her dad so that she can always look up to her first superhero.

I see God in her, in the lessons I’ve learned raising her, in the ways she fits with me so perfectly. As I see the stark differences between her father and I, I recognize how perfectly God planned her family so that she would have the best of us both. Now if I can just relax, close my eyes, and let him be her dad, frogs, mud, and all.

18 Replies to “Let Him be Her Dad”

  1. I loved the tone and grace in this post. It sounds like your kids have a really great dad–but I can only imagine how challenging the transition between him being gone and then being home would be for everyone involved. My husband also has a pretty different personality from me–different likes and passions–and I hope these differences will help us make a good team when it comes to kids.

    1. Reintegrating is so hard for us because I’m super type A and organize everything and keep it that way. He comes home and has everything chaotic in five minutes. I have had to learn to make his house be his home not just mine.

    1. I love her and try to do my best to raise a person who will be God honoring. I struggle to say I’m a good mom. But I know I am as long as I don’t hold myself to perfectionist standards

  2. Isn’t if funny how God often puts opposites together? My hubby and I are very different on the parenting thing as well. But God always has a plan and he gave us these children for a specific reason. They need what we each bring to the equation and that is what you so amazingly expressed here! Wonderful post & thank you to your husband for his service.

  3. I think all moms go through this maybe not at the same level but we do. I remember when my little one had colic and leaving both girls with my husband for a couple of hours. Yes he gave the oldest cookies for lunch but she survived. Dad’s may not do things the way we do but that just gives the kids something else to remember them with. I love that your husband takes your daughter on dates. So sweet.

    1. Yes, the first time I left her alone with him he was so funny. He texted me pictures, like proof of life photos. It was hilarious. And they caught bugs and had fun.

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