“Bein’ a dad can make you feel sad
Like you’re the insignificant other
Yeah right from the start
They break your heart
In the end every kid wants his mother”
– from “Being A Dad” by Loudon Wainwright
Here’s a sad truth Dads may not want to admit…Moms have a connection with their babies that we never will. Dads so often are on the outside looking in; disconnected from the whole experience of being a parent. We spend the first nine months of our children’s existance watching our wives literally grow this child inside of them. What an amazing experience that must be! All Dads can do, however, is rub our wife’s belly or run out to buy a jar of pickles.
Then…after nine long months…Dads finally get to be with their little one. Unfortunately, for most Dads they have to go back to work far too soon and never get a chance to bond with their children like their wives do. Before long these Dads slump home at the end of a long work day to find their baby in their wife’s arms, and it is clear – a Dad will never rival the connection a mother has with her child.
Even in my situation – as a stay at home Dad – I see the magical bond that Maddie and Heather have and wonder if Maddie and I will ever relate the same way. Perhaps some kind of connection is forged those first nine months between a mother and child that we Dads will always be chasing; always trying to make up for.
I bring all this up because this weekend Heather went out of town to a bachelorette party and left me to care for Maddie. While I, of course, take care of Madde by myself during the day, taking care of her at night alone was another story. I was a little nervous about this even if I didn’t let on to Heather that I was.
The night started simply enough…I fed Maddie, administered her breathing treatments, taped on her nasal canula, then put her down and turned on her oxygen. A few hours later she started crying and I got up and fed her. So far nothing all that different except for the fact Heather wasn’t here.
A couple hours after that Maddie once again started crying (when again do babies start sleeping through the night?) so I fed her some more. At this point it was almost six in the morning, so, instead of putting her back in her crib I took her into our bedroom. It was weird to be alone with Maddie – well, Rigby was there too – but without Heather it felt very strange. That is until Maddie rolled over and cuddled up against me. She looked up at me, gave me a little smile, then closed her eyes and went to sleep. It was a great moment between just the two of us. As she started to snore ever so slightly I thought that, while I may never know what is like to grow a baby inside of me or to connect with a child the way a mother does, there most definetely is an awesome bond between a father and his child. And you know what? I will take whatever kind of relationship I can get just as long as I get to see this little face: