I know I didn't.
When you meet your husband and future father to your children you just don't know. When you date and fall in love with that boy (let's say it, the woman makes the man) you don't know what kind of father he will be.
When I met Charlie, he was (and still is) a teacher, which you would think meant he had some affinity for children. That was about all I knew about how he interacted with children. He had never held a child much less watched or babysat one. When we had Mary Margaret, he had changed only one diaper before hers.
Honestly, he, nor I, were the most responsible people when we met. We drank a lot and ate really good meals, throwing caution to the wind, nor glancing at our check books. But we did know that one day we wanted children, and being the weirdos we are, knew the names of our first boy and girl that we had even before we were even engaged. That was a good sign, but I still didn't know.
We got our first "child," Buckley, when we were engaged. And Charlie was already a great daddy who would get up and take Buckley to relieve his little puppy bladder at 3 am when the partying neighbors would wake him up. Then they would both sleep together on the only "couch" we had which was a love seat that barely fit either of them.
You don't KNOW, know until it happens. Until that little baby comes and your lives change forever.
And little did I know that the boy I married would turn into not only a stand-up man, but the most amazing father to our children I would have ever have known to ask for. He was a little scared at first because he didn't have the, um, equipment to solve all world baby problems like I did. But once he got the hang of it, ohh has he excelled.
He, of course, has more patience with MM that I ever do. He is also become a stay-at-home Dad for the summer, which means taking the time to think about things to do with her, and of course lots and lots and lots and lots of book-reading and playing in the car. He takes her to the library, takes her on walks when I need a break to nap or what-ever. Plays tea time and encourages good manners. Takes her to Mass and teaches her how to pray. He is SO proud of her, and I am So so So proud of him for the man and husband is has become.
As completely cliché it is to say, I realllllly got lucky. There must have been clues leading up to it, but I didn't know how wonderful a husband and father could be until him. Of course, no offense dad.
Here a little montage of MM and Charlie pictures:
This last one was taken last week, and really shows the kind of parenting we condone. I was told it was empty, but it was also like 2 PM, so really you never know. When it's summer break (during World Cup) for these teachers, all bets are off.
I believe this "you never know what you're going to get" can be expanded to include grandparents. In our case, both of our fathers hadn't had grandchildren before. So you really just never know how they are going to react. I can say that like Charlie, it took a little warming up, and getting more comfortable baby-holding again, but once they got going... things really took off.
Papa or "George" as MM likes to refer to him.
"Boom" or "Boom Boom"
I am thankful for all of the fathers that MM, and soon V, have in their lives. And in particular, the one that I can say I picked, even if I didn't know how amazing he was going to be.
Happy Father's Day to all dad's out there. You deserve that next beer, so have the child you've trained go pour you another, and remember to let them get their deserved one-sip tax.