Letter to My Husband: The Blessing in Watching a Black Father Bloom6/21/2015
by Bee Quammie Dear J, On June 21, 2014, life as we knew it shifted, ballooned, and took on new...
by Bee Quammie
On June 21, 2014, life as we knew it shifted, ballooned, and took on new shape. Our daughter burst into the world accompanied by the summer solstice sunrise, bringing with her the gift of new identities for the two of us. Taking on the roles of mother and father, we were immediately thrust into on-the-job training with this beautiful brown baby as our only guide.
Growing into motherhood has been incredible, but a hidden corner of my heart has been filled by watching you step into your being as a father.
On one hand, I’m not surprised. If I ever wavered in my faith that you would be an excellent dad, we wouldn’t be here right now. The unexpected part of it all has been bearing witness to just how you’ve taken the baton of fatherhood and ran with it. Those before you stumbled and succeeded in their own ways, but this is your race to run, at your pace, with your unique stride.
You're an "all in" kind of dad, and hesitation is not part of your process. Save for labour, delivery, and breastfeeding, I'd be hard-pressed to find any other act of parenting that you haven’t been able to do. Your fatherhood is more than presence—it is deliberate action and intentional love; a fertile soil where our daughter can take root and thrive.
You’ve become equal parts provider and nurturer. Building her crib is as important as smothering her with kisses in it each morning. You’ve taught her the wonders of soca music, and you’ve learned that detangling her hair is much easier with a wide-tooth comb when wet. From doctor’s appointments to daddy-daughter dates and everything in between, you’re in this 100%.
You spent six months as a stay-at-home dad. I’ve never seen you smile more, never heard you laugh more, never felt more appreciated once you understood the work required at that level of caregiving. Was it easy? No. Was it soul-fulfilling? You remind me everyday that it was. The proof is in the bond between you and her: the inside jokes you share, the way she settles instinctively into the crook of your arm and nuzzles into your neck, the way you look at her, then look at me and smile.
Here we are—June 21, 2015. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, which is fitting. No other day is better equipped to encompass the momentous celebration of our daughter’s first birthday and your first Father’s Day. While we rejoice and mark her first turn around the sun, I cheer for you, too. I was the daughter who wished for more from her father at times. I am the woman who hoped for a team player in this parenting game. Every day you give our daughter the love she needs, and you give me the partnership I desire.
Happy Father’s Day. It’s been a blessing watching you bloom.
Bee Quammie is a Toronto-based health care professional, writer, and founder of ‘83 To Infinity and The Brown Suga Mama. Recognized by Black Enterprise & the Black Canadians Awards for her digital work, Bee aims to live '83 To Infinity's motto: "It's never too late to learn something new, do something new, or be someone new." Follow her on Twitter at @BeeSince83.