As I watch you pace the floor in the dim light, shushing our tiny baby off to sleep, I see a new you.
It’s strange for me, because I honestly thought there wasn’t much more to discover about you.
But I was wrong. And I’m so very happy about that.
Let me explain.
I know every freckle
Honey, the dots on your face are as familiar to me as the smell of your deodorant.
I know your best qualities, and also your worst (but you can name mine, too).
I know what ticks you off, moves you, what makes you smile or burst into a belly laugh.
I know the average time you will take in the shower and how you like your eggs.
What I am saying is that I know YOU.
But this dad-version of you is new to me. Just like the mum-version of me is new to you.
I am getting to know him, and as the days turn into weeks and months since our baby arrived, I have to say I love him more and more.
You are stronger than I thought
When you drag yourself out of bed in the morning, after another disturbed night (and I know, I often point out that yours hasn’t been as disturbed as mine), and somehow summon up the energy to go to work and pretend to be a functioning human, I see strength.
It’s the same inner strength I am drawing upon as I keep going, day after day, night after night … even when I feel I can’t.
The sleep deprivation is a killer and it’s so much worse than I imagined, but you are also stronger than I ever knew.
Fatherhood has given you a sense of purpose and pride. And while running this work/life/family marathon, you still mange to give to us in every other way, too.
You are a tough cookie. But I didn’t know just how tough until now.
You are softer than I knew
But on the flip side, you are also a marshmallow.
Like waaaaaay squishier than I ever realised.
When I watch you swoon over our bub, humming little songs and nuzzling your face into her, just to breathe her in, I see this.
I see you melt inside when you lie on the couch and our baby sleeps more soundly than ever on your chest.
You are in love. Like, head over heels, will never be the same, in love.
And it is making you more tender, softer than my deflated belly.
You are your best self
I know we are squabbling a lot right now because the sleep debt is building.
I know we are snapping when we should be supporting each other more.
I know ‘we’ are not perfect … but I think you, as a dad, are.
Fatherhood has evolved you into a beautiful, nurturing, funny, sweet, compassionate, strong and giving dad.
So honey, I know I probably haven’t told you these things in person. I’m too dog-tired to. It also seems this baby of ours has not only stolen my heart, but also my words.
But I DO feel and think them.
And I want you to know it.
I love you.