My husband, Jonathan, is a wonderful father. Just like I knew he would be. I had witnessed firsthand his relationships with his four nephews and two nieces while we were dating. In fact, two of them “chaperoned” us on our first date when we took them to see a kiddie movie. I had also seen the relationship Jonathan had with his own father, Dean, who is a great father in his own right.
We had the kid conversation early in our relationship and were both in agreement that we wanted at least one, but preferably two. Jonathan didn’t care if we had boys, girls or one of each. I always wanted one of each but thought we would ultimately be blessed with two boys.
Jonathan started taking care of his babies before they were born by taking care of me. He kept me calm when I freaked out to learn that we were expecting our first child so soon after deciding that we were ready. He handled my mood swings and cravings like a champ. He even convinced McDonald’s to sell him a case of their sweet and sour sauce because it was one of my cravings and should have bought stock in Sonic due to the many cranberry juice slushes I drank while I was pregnant.
He was thrilled to learn that we were expecting a healthy baby boy. Douglas Andrew was born on April 4, 2008, at 4:38 pm. His first name was my late father’s name, and Andrew is Jonathan’s middle name. We always planned to call him Drew. I had complications during labor, so I didn’t get to see Drew at all until the next morning. Jonathan was able to hold him first, carry him to the nursery, and take his first photograph. He ensured that Drew was okay while I was in recovery since Drew was born with a fever.
Jonathan was a hands-on dad from the beginning. He changed just as many diapers and fed Drew as many bottles as I did. We split the night feeds with him getting up in the night once and me getting up once. We had a system, and it worked for us. We didn’t know what we were doing but figured it out as we went. I fell in love with my husband even more while watching him fall in love with our son.
Drew’s daddy took everything in stride, including the time when he got hit in the face with the broad side of a toy barn. Ouch. Jonathan never stayed angry for very long. He was always the first to jump up if Drew was sick or got hurt.
When Drew was an older toddler, we were ready for another baby to complete our family. Jonathan told me from the beginning of my pregnancy that the child who would be completing our family would be a little girl. He was right.
Meredith Pearl was born on May 11, 2012, at 8:39 am. Jonathan was first to hold her as well and took her first photograph. Just like he was with Drew, Jonathan jumped right in taking care of Meredith. They say parents’ love doesn’t divide, it multiplies. It’s true. Jonathan loved our little girl as much as he loved Drew. He changed her, fed her, bathed her, and made her laugh.
Our kids are lucky to have a father like Jonathan. He can be serious when he needs to be, using that oh-so-famous “Dad Voice” but can also be tender and loving. He’s a better father than I am a mother. He is more patient than I am and is better at taking care of the kids when they’re sick than I am.
Jonathan does so many things with and for our kids. He plays video games, conducts science experiments, reads stories, sings silly songs, dances, washes laundry that’s been puked on, plays tea party, gives voices to stuffed animals, plays board games, pushes swings, makes lunches, gives baths, allows himself to be wallowed on in the floor, doles out punishments when necessary, listens to songs and stories, and most importantly, loves our children.
Something that always irritates me is when people say a dad is babysitting. Unless that dad is actually watching someone else’s children, they are not babysitting, they are parenting. I couldn’t ask for a better person to raise our children with.
Jonathan, you are doing a kick-ass job at being a father. I love you.
-Brandi Easterling Collins