(Montell and his youngest. All photos courtesy of Talia Whittington)
Fatherhood is beautiful and breathtaking. It’s true as a labor nurse my focus can often be honed in on mothers... but to the dads out there who are doing it well—I see you. I appreciate you. What you do is important. I'd go so far as to say it's magic.
(Montell and his girls. So tiny!)
Yesterday as my family was leaving the annual AISIN family picnic at Walker’s Bluff, I got to witness one of those interactions that touched my heart. There was a daddy headed toward the car, his hair in long braids. He looked to be in his mid-twenties. He wore his little daughter in a baby carrier, her dark curly haired head nestled next to daddy’s heart. If I had to guess I’d say she was around a year old. “Do you want another bite, mama?” he asked her, offering up some fruit.
It was just a 30-second observation but I could see so much in that time. I caught the tenderness in his voice for his little girl. He was offering her a healthy and delicious snack—showing a desire to care for her body and make her happy. Although she was little he also asked her if she wanted a bite, showing respect for her autonomy. The way he carried her so close to him spoke of a desire to help her feel secure. This dad was very with it and incredibly nurturing.
(Sleepy time with Daddy)
The sad thing is, in our society there’s a pervasive myth that men don’t know how to parent—or at the very least—that they are incapable of parenting babies well. People speak of men “babysitting” when they are caring for their own children. But I’m here to say that these are lies. Men can wear babies, kiss boo-boo’s, play dress-up, rock little ones to sleep, and read bedtime stories… Men are just as capable as women of being amazing parents. Men can be nurturers. This young father was another beautiful example of that.
(With his daughters and his son by marriage. He's an amazing daddy...)
To all the men out there who are giving it 100% to parent a child whether yours by blood or not-- thank you. Keep up the great work.