When we went to that very first doctor’s appointment, you watched.
When I fell asleep on the couch at 6 p.m. from first trimester fatigue, you watched.
When I became frustrated with my clothes no longer fitting like they used to, you stood there and you watched.
When my ankles began to swell from the summer heat and early symptoms of HELLP, you watched.
When we went to the hospital for observation, you (and the nurses) watched.
When they took me away from you to be prepped for emergency surgery, you watched.
When the door closed and the doctors told you to wait outside on a bench, you watched.
When our son was born and rushed to the NICU, you intently watched.
You watch, but oh, you do so much more.
You are not a spectator.
You watched as you held my hand at that first appointment, when I wasn’t fully convinced that the four pregnancy tests I’d taken were true.
You watched over me as you covered me with a blanket when I fell asleep on the couch and then, led me by hand as you walked me to bed.
You watched me for hours as I shopped for maternity clothes, without complaining, without hesitation.
You watched my concern grow and spoke to me with love as you rubbed my feet, night after night after night and propped them up on pillows to keep the swelling down.
You watched every monitor diligently and sat by my side for the hour-long observation. You kept me calm when they told me our son needed to be delivered that day, four weeks early. You called family and friends and kept them up to date. You reassured, hugged and talked with me.
You watched the door close as you sat on that bench, more anxious than you’ve ever been, and you prayed. You battled internal panic, begging for the door to open so you could be by my side.
You watched as I was wheeled to a room and our son to the NICU. You wore yourself out from taking care of both of us, making sure we were both doing alright.
You watched as they took the monitors off of our son. You held him in your arms and you watched him take his sweet breaths without mechanical support. You watched him so closely, thankful he was coming home with us at last.
And, then, I watched. I saw then, and continue to see now, a love so deep and pure. A father’s love.
In the nine months since, you have done so much more watching. And, I know as he grows, you’ll watch him even more.
You’ll watch as he takes his first steps. You’ll watch as he complains about homework. You’ll watch as he drives off in his first car. You’ll watch as he goes off to college.
You’ll be there through it all!
You’ll watch. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry. You’ll hug and support. You’ll pray and you’ll talk.
You’ll be just the father he needs because you’ve watched.
Happy first Father’s Day to my own husband, and to all the dads out there who are constantly watching over their families. Thank you for all you do!