I was just thinking how both our daughters were born before my husband and I even met--and how that's just kind of part of our story now.
When we met I was 29 and he was 30. We discussed parenthood, and children, and how many kids we might want to have. He always told me that as far as he was concerned, family equaled us, that we didn't need a baby to feel complete. In the beginning I couldn't imagine what he would say when I told him that I wanted to adopt, and not a baby, but someone older. Actually, I imagined the usual, what everyone said: "You can always adopt if you don't get pregnant."
But he didn't say that.
We were in the car on a starry night; I'd known him about two months. He laid his hand on my knee, lifting it only once to adjust the heat. Music with no words played on the radio, a saxophone's long low notes. I stared at the broken white lines and the lights that glittered along the southern California hillside, traced the gnarled metal dividers, and took a deep breath.
"What?" he wanted to know.
"Nothing," I lied, trying to sound nonchalant.
The freeway was empty, with no accidents or stalled cars littering the shoulder, and it felt like life was going by too quickly, that there was no way to slow things down so I could tell him in just the right, perfect, metered, eloquent, polished, don't-say-no-to-me way-a way that would (ha!) guarantee the response I wanted. So I squeezed his hand and told him about wanting to adopt. When I spoke of adoption I did not use the word baby.
At a stoplight at the bottom of the empty off ramp, he faced me. His brown doe eyes were deeper and wider than usual. I was thinking, uh-oh, that this was probably the deal breaker.
"I would do that," he said.
"You would?" I asked.
He nodded. He said yes even though the operative word was child.
"Really?" I said.
He nodded again. "Yes," he said.
And because of that we got to be parents together and I'm thankful for that--and that we got to adopt our girls, and for all the ways they touched our lives.
That's what I'm thinking about this third Sunday in June.
As a kid I never imagined I'd think about thanking anyone but my own father. And while I do remember him-he passed away 18 years ago-my heart has grown and so has my appreciation for the many wonderful men who bring themselves fully to parenthood in a multitude of ways. And also for the uncles, brothers, brothers-in-law, big brothers from service agencies, family friends-the list goes on-who may not have kids but who step in with full hearts. Everyone has their own reason for celebrating this day for dads. Everyone's Father's Day story is different. So?
Let's tell them.