On August 20, 2001, after nearly 24 hours of hard labor, my husband’s first son, Benjamin Maxwell, was born. He was hundreds of miles away, out of state, likely on campus for class, and I have no way of knowing if he knew that his first child had been born.

Did something stir within him at the highly civilized hour of 2:50 in the afternoon? Did he shiver as his son drew his first breath and screamed his bloody head off? Did he stop for a second, not knowing why, as his some-day-will-be-wife cried as she looked at her new son for the first time, marveling at his beauty and how damn HEAVY he was?

I don’t have any way of knowing that, of course, and The Daver, he doesn’t remember. The pictures my mind paints, though, that’s what they all look like. Two realities, separate, then intertwined.

The Daver, he met Benner and I when Ben was two and I was twenty-three, and while he confessed to being nervous about dating a girl with a kid, all traces of nerves were evaporated when Ben raised his stubby arms up to him to be carried across the street for the first time. When Ben wrapped his arms around Dave, a father was made.

That night, on the drive home, Ben spoke one of the only sentences he had, and certainly one of the only ones he’d made up, “Awww…..(sniff)….BYE DAVE.” The kid, he loved his Dave. For an autistic kid, that’s huge.

From then on, they were like cheese and macaroni. When Ben was obsessed with the planets, Dave had a friend paint the walls of Ben’s bedroom in our condo with Jupiter and Mars. When Ben needed to potty train, Dave went to poop class with me. When we needed to find a preschool, Dave helped me look.

When we got married, Dave asked Ben for my hand in marriage. Ben didn’t hesitate before he said said, “Yeah, okay!”

After Ben walked me down the aisle, he stood up as Dave’s best man, and Dave’s vows to Ben had the entire church weeping. I could have skipped the white dress entirely (and trust me, I would happily have done so. I am SO not a wedding person) and left my kid and his dad up there alone.

2 years after we were married, March 20, 2007, Ben became a big brother and Dave became a father once more. I don’t know who was prouder. I still don’t, actually.

2 years after that, Ben and Alex became big brothers and Dave became a father for the last time.

Fathering a child may be easy, but being a dad, that’s the hard shit. I know that.

I have more male readers than most blogs with “Mommy” in the URL  (thanks to saying things like “beef curtains,” “sweater kittens” and “anal leakage”) and I’m honored to know all of you.

Happy Father’s Day, Pranksters.

And Happy Father’s Day, The Daver. We’re damn lucky to have you.

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Comments

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60 thoughts on “Paternity

  1. It goes to show that real daddies are more than sperm donors. And it really doesn’t matter if it was his sperm. Some men are born to be fathers. The Daver is one of them. You are lucky, lucky woman.

  2. That was touching. Really. I have little tears threatening to leak out of my eyes. Happy Fathers day to the dads! Any SOB can donate sperm, but it takes someone special to be a dad.

  3. What beautiful pictures!! Happy Father’s Day to The Daver! Obviously he is one SPECIAL guy…..i love the first pix with Ben….gets me all teary.

  4. That definitely brought tears to my eyes. I agree that the first pic of The Daver and Ben is so great. Happy Father’s Day to The Daver and all the great Dads out there!

  5. Your wedding sounds so beautiful…got me all choked up. Hope you’re enjoying the Father’s Day festivities!

  6. I am so, so, so glad that Ben and Dave found each other, and you got Dave in the bargain. I wish all the men I know, for example, my husband, had the benefit of a caring Dad. Not everyone gets one, even if everyone deserves one. And, oh yeah, happy anal leakage day to you, too.

  7. Happy Father’s Day to your man and all the wonderful fathers out there.

    And such truth, biology does not and never will trump the love between a father and child, no matter what the story.

    Beautifully done.

  8. Thanks for being vulnerable and writing this. You touched a nerve as Mrs Tapper & I adopted our first son & count ourselves blessed with the gift we named Matthew.

    You gave a great tribute to Dave & I hope you two grow old together & get to enjoy grandkids as much as you enjoy your sons.

    Tapper

  9. Thanks to everyone for your Father’s Day wishes! I am lucky enough to have an awesome wife and wonderful children that make me proud to be a dad every single day, not just Father’s Day.

    But hey, since it IS Father’s Day, I’ll take a moment and bask in your warm wishes. Mmmm.

  10. It warms my heart to know that my Aunt Becky can be a giant mushy-hearted sap sometimes! After all, life can’t ALWAYS be about beef curtains, right? Happy Father’s Day to The Daver!!

  11. You probably shouldn’t have worn the white dress anyway… I mean, just saying.

    Sorry, sarcastic, bitchy comments pop out of my mouth when I read something that makes me all gooey inside.

    Lucky Daver.

  12. The world needs more Davers. It’s unfortunate how many kids I know whose fathers have just basically abandoned them…and it usually has more to do with not wanting to pay their child support because they don’t want the mom to have their money. That just sickes me.

    Happy (belated) Father’s Day, Dave! You’re a very special man and those are three damn lucky kiddos.

  13. I’m hoping it’s the extra glass of wine that made me tear up at that post. I had my tear ducts removed like eight years ago.

    I hoped for that really hard with Lady H. I didn’t get it. All I can hope is the man I chose will be a good influence on her. I can’t make them love each other, but hopefully she will admire and respect him when she is older. You are a lucky girl, Aunt Becky. Take it from someone who didn’t get that lucky.

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