A Mother’s Love on Father’s Day

A Mother’s Love on Father’s Day

by Kathryn M. (Van Druff) D’Imperio

It’s an amazing feeling when you love someone so much that you can’t possibly imagine loving anyone – even them – more than you already do. You have so much love, your heart is just about bursting at the seams, happiness abounds each day, and you want to spend every waking moment with this one single person.

Then suddenly you have a child together and your life explodes with love all over again, and your heart overflows in a million directions as you find out just how much more you can love that person and the children you have together. I am so blessed to experience that kind of knock-you-off-your-feet love.

Father’s Day is many things to many people. It’s a good time to reminisce on our childhood and to be grateful to our own dads and stepdads for their love and what they taught us, to look back on our grandfathers and appreciate their sacrifices and our special memories with them, and to cherish and honor our husbands, making sure our kids know just how special Daddy really is… (and making sure he knows) not just on Father’s Day, but all throughout the year.

Of course, Father’s Day is a great time to celebrate Dad and to treat him to his favorite things. It’s also a great time to sit and think about the amazing dynamics of the husband and father role.

My husband and I have a daughter who will be two by the time Father’s Day arrives. It’s truly astounding how much faster life seems to move once you have a child. She was a newborn ever so briefly and then days slipped away into weeks, months rolled by, and here she is, almost potty trained and talking in multi-word phrases and short sentences, absorbing everything in the world around her like a thirsty little sponge. Where does the time go?

As days continue to fly by, I try to make sure my husband knows how much he is loved and appreciated, and how much time with him is treasured. Every day I have boundless gratitude toward him for the gift of our daughter and for making it possible for me to experience each of her “first” moments, watching her evolve from an impressionable infant to a toddler with a loving disposition and a fantastic imagination. It warms my heart to see her grow and change each day, but even more to see her excitement bubble over during those precious moments she spends with “Dada.”

I love my husband for so many reasons that it would take me an entire book, rather than an essay, to capture all the wonderful things I adore. Just one of them is how much he loves our daughter. I see it in so many ways. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of this special way he’s looking at her and it reminds me of how he looked at me when we first started dating in college. It was as though the entire rest of the room melted away, people and all, and it was just the two of us standing there, enough to make my heart skip a beat. It’s almost the same with them, but with a father’s doting love. Meanwhile, the romantic, sweep-you-off-your-feet love I feel for him continues to grow and grow. I am not sure if he ever notices me noticing him getting lost in this gaze at the beautiful child we created. Even if he does, I don’t think I could stop looking.

Our daughter adores her dad and looks forward to seeing him every morning and awaits his return at night. Even when he’s not at home, he’s definitely on her mind. She talks into her play phone (or more often, my cell phone), starting her conversation with “Hi Dada,” and proceeds to name all of her favorite stuffed animals and the family dog, along with other random words, telling him about her day.

When we are reading books and the picture shows a big animal and a little animal interacting, Natalie points and calls the big one “Dada” and the little one “Nattie.” (Always. It’s never “Mama,” and that’s fine by me.) She also calls pictures of teddy bears “Dada” in her books. Perhaps because they are so cute and lovable?

Bonding moments between Justin and Natalie are just as heartwarming for me. I will never forget the very first time they shared a bowl of Cheerios; it was like a really well-done commercial that pulls on your heartstrings. Dad and young daughter sitting on the couch, dad looking at daughter intently after a long day at work, occasionally gazing over at miniature bowl of Cheerios, realizing lunch was about seven hours ago, but really enjoying her company and the fact that she’s found a fondness for one of his favorite cereals… suddenly daughter notices dad’s gaze, looks at her snack, looks back at dad, and sweetly lifts a Cheerio up to his lips, inherently understanding the wonders of sharing from an early age. You can’t script this stuff with kids!

Father’s Day is a great time to celebrate Dad and to treat him to his favorite things. Its also a great time to sit and think about the amazing dynamics of the husband and father role.

When they are sitting on the couch and my husband knows exactly how cute they are, but still asks, “Are we cute?” I know I am in trouble. A swell of emotion hits me every time. Yes, there is something intensely appealing about the man you love and the child you had together cuddling up as cute as can be. Then the dog noses her way in, wanting to get some scratches behind the ear and snuggles, too. Entirely too much cuteness in one place… Is there some extra room over there for me?

Every day brings more love and new adventures as a family – with life playing out as a dream-come-true, all thanks to him. There’s nothing quite like being able to watch your daughter’s eyes light up as she’s spending time with her dad. I love how she always saves the best smiles for him – a smile that goes right to her eyes, sparkling and twinkling like the sun. Just like his do.

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