The #dontforgetdads hashtag on Instagram is one of my favourites. It’s not often that I use it and that got me thinking. There’s so much that Patrick does with Rafa that doesn’t get captured the way my mothering does. Of course I continuously capture photos of Rafa and Patrick at home but there is an absence of these father and son moments in my Instagram gallery. Patrick makes an appearance with Rafa and I in our weekly family portraits and in the occasional Instagram story but for the most part Patrick’s fathering remains unseen.
My daily adventures with Rafa are well documented, in large part to show Patrick in the afternoons but I realise I only give you a glimpse of what our life with a child is really like. A glimpse taken from the view point of a mother who gets to spend all day with her child. I drive the learning environment, the experiences and the excursions. I enjoy the cafe dates, the play dates and snuggle times.
As Rafa’s mother I’m privileged to experience all the really “glamorous” moments. All the public outings. All the strangers who stop to chat and play. While Patrick often deals with the less glamorous moments. All the wake-ups, the nappy changes, the tired cries. Often there is no one around in those moments to say “You’re such a wonderful dad”, “You’re doing such a great job with him”, “He looks like you”. No, the moments Rafa and Patrick share are closed to the world, often even to me.
What isn’t captured on my account are afternoon meal times with Patrick. Post-bath play time with Patrick isn’t captured either. But more than that what no one else sees, or hears of, are the numerous times Patrick is up with our son throughout the night. Patrick soothes Rafa during as many wakeful moments as possible to allow me a few extra hours of sleep.
I might stumble upon these private moments, and when I do I’m reminded of how lucky I am. What a humbling experience it is to see you partner tackle all the late night wake-ups, to only get a few hours of play and cuddles, and to leave you to head off to work to continue to support the lifestyle that you are accustomed to. And then to come home tired, with little likelihood of me asking “How was your day sweetheart?” the moment he walks through the door (If he’s lucky I might remember to ask just as my head hits the pillow). Yet he happily takes his son and tells me what a good job I’m doing and how grateful he is for me.
In that moment and with that realisation I crumble. It is I who am truly grateful for all you do. For all you sacrifice so that I can continue to stay at home and enjoy the more glamorous aspects of parenting our child. I don’t know how you do it all, I don’t think I could. But watching you gives me the strength and courage to carry on. It’s such a humbling experience thinking about what you do as a dad.
To Rafa’s dad – thank you for you babes x