One of the most entertaining aspects of my marriage has been watching my husband become a father. The metamorphosis has been equivalent to, say, Will Ferrell becoming a missionary. The day our first son was born, my husband sat blissfully unfazed in the maternity ward, watching Jim Cantore report from Duval Street as a minor hurricane approached. He munched on smelly pretzel bits like he was at the gas station waiting for pump number 4 to open for all he cared. Exactly how our lives – or more specifically, his life – would change had not quite dawned on my free-spirited German as rain pelted the Lower Keys Medical Center.
Then things went awry for me and the baby and that was the instant he became a father. It was the first realization that his child was in danger and he went pale and the pretzel bits disappeared. In that second, when the overwhelming combination of fear, responsibility and love shook him to his core, he heard the universe scream “Welcome to Parenthood”.
Fast forward to 20 minutes later to him holding his first son like Simba in the operating room; cue the Lion King music. From then on our little chubby blue-eyed Gerber baby had the German’s full attention, unlike me, who took second place to pretzel bits and Cantore throughout the whole ordeal.
And with utmost seriousness and fatherly devotion, the years have seen my husband convince toddlers that carrots chopped in the same shape as corn are “orange corn” and that all pilots of airplanes eat broccoli. He jerry-rigged the stroller with plastic wire so no toys would be “lost” along the way and attached PVC pipes to the side our house just to shoot match box cars down for fun. To this day, he makes both our sons better, healthier food than I and buys an arsenal of kiddie-friendly pharmaceuticals from Germany “just in case.” Both my boys dutifully follow him, eating liverwurst, loving soccer, jumping off bridges, baiting hooks and speaking German like baby ducks. Our friends made him a DILF shirt he wears with twisted pride.
Now, I find it funny when he argues with me about “what they like more” or “how it should be done.” Oh okay, let’s not forget I am still Mom a.k.a. Supreme Ruler. Some days I grab my own pretzel bits and watch the show because it’s beautiful to watch a father being a father. From the simple act to making sure the floaties fit right or watching the game pretending infants know the score, it’s now just who he is, a dad. Hurricanes still don’t scare him much as I wish they would, but also him changing back from the most devoted loving responsible father, well, there’s no chance of that either. But he is allowed eat pretzel bits again.