Yesterday was JP's first father's day and we made it a good one. He got to sleep in until 9 AM because his loving wife took his noisy son on an early morning trip to Wal-Mart. Later there was a family trip to Lowe's where Landon picked out a nice charcoal grill, which his daddy used to cook his special Father's Day N.Y. Strip steaks that night. JP also got to share a father-son power tool bonding moment with Landon while he installed the beautiful knobs I picked out for the kitchen (we have 29 cabinet doors, lucky guy).
We spent a lazy afternoon on our back porch, with JP cursing his new grill for arriving in 1000 pieces, and Landon escaping from his froggy pool and crawling bare-bummed all over the deck.
I don't think he could have asked for any better gift than being back in Texas (or "The Holy Land" as he recently dubbed it), living in his own house (and not a small apartment in a "people weren't meant to live this way" crowded city), and working "with his hands" out in his yard. And he deserves all the things that make him so happy (even if they make me roll my eyes). His first year as a father has been a rough one. In addition to all of Landon's general medical difficulties and refusal to sleep, JP's fathering was scrutinized and criticized by strangers and loved ones. I can't imagine how hard it was to be fingered as the intentional cause of your son's trauma, but very much to his credit, he has never let that interfere with the hands-on relationship he has with Landon.
I saw him transition from loving husband to father the night they placed a tiny Landon on his chest in the NICU and we watched in awe as our son's breathing dropped under 100 breaths a minute for the first time since birth. He looked up at me, and in words that remind me both of how young and excited we were, he said, "this is so cool." I love watching him now as he spends his days playing and taking care of Landon while I study for the Bar. Right now I can hear hear the words to "He's Got the Whole World" floating down the stairs, I know he's holding Landon to his chest, swaying and walking him to sleep. I have so many images of him as a father that will never leave my mind. I'm glad we were able to give him the Father's Day he deserves.