Happy Father’s Day everyone! This is the *biggest commercial holiday of the year*! Actually it’s not even close. Apparently we spend less on Father’s Day than on all the other holidays. Sorry we are such cheap a-holes, dads!
Today’s post features readers’ anecdotes, photos, and thoughts on what exactly turns a regular guy into a great dad. Also, there are some anecdotes about dads messing things up, because why not.
A quick note before we jump into dad-fest: If you missed it yesterday, please check out our featured article, 8 Hidden Challenges to Breastfeeding on BLUNTmoms! If you enjoy the post and can “like” and “share” it on Facebook I’d really appreciate it!
Happy Father’s Day!
“A great dad is there to comfort his baby as readily as he’s there to entertain him.” – Liz Curtis Faria
“A good father is one who lets his daughter crawl all over him until she finds the right spot on his lap and keeps the tv on Curious George despite his preference for just about anything else.” – Courtney Brown
“I think what makes a great dad is a dad who wants to teach his child everything about the world. Sometimes Ry has things to get done and Luke is his little shadow. Instead of getting frustrated with Luke, he’s always patient and includes him and teaches him about what he’s doing.” – Melissa LaHaye
“A great thing good dads do – physical play! My husband’s the one for the light saber battles, playground games of chase, tossing in the air, and generally being treated as a jungle gym.” – Jenny Ness Decker
“You know you’ve arrived as a father when you realize and then unleash the untapped possibilities of father/son completely inappropriate Halloween costumes. Because you can.” – Christina Korphage Bracknell
“What makes a good dad? Someone who plays sports with you, someone who’s nice to you, someone who takes me to sports, helps me when I’m hurt, takes me fishing, helpful, nice, thoughtful and there when I need him.” – Zach, Age 7
“A good dad is someone who takes a picture with me, plays games with me, someone who goes to sleep with me, takes me on a boat, helps me.” – Liam, Age 6
“When my son, Archer, was really little – maybe 6 months? – he got a really bad stomach virus and he just barfed and barfed and barfed for 24 hours. It was super awful. BUT, in the midst of all the barfing, I had one of those moments that made me realize how awesome my husband was: Archer was just starting to heave and my husband rushed to him, grabbed him, and snuggled him up in the crook of his arm and said, “It’s okay, Archer. I’ve got you. You can just throw up on me.” So, what I’m trying to say is: great dads don’t care if their kids barf/poop/pee/whatever on them”. – Elizabeth Jade Bauman
“A great dad is someone who treats his stepchild like she’s his own.” -Sue Smith
“A great dad is one who can, without fail, put his baby to sleep simply by reading a book. My husband, Dan, and I trade off bedtime story duty every other night. On my nights, by book’s end, baby Grayson is wide awake, having ingested at least half a page, perfected his Greg Louganis-dive off my lap, and generally behaved like a monkey on crack. On Dan’s nights, before The Very Hungry Caterpillar has so much as whet his appetite, Grayson is passed out, snoring away, and looking more like a monkey on Ambien. I don’t know what it is about Dan that knocks Gray out—his comforting embrace, his soothing baritone, or his uncanny ability to choose the most boring book on the shelf—but, whatever it is, I’m pretty sure it makes him a great dad.” – Shannon Barry Vasconcelos
“My husband Matt had shoulder surgery right after my son was born and again at 6 months so he was able to spend a lot of time at home with our son… now he takes him out almost every day so I can do my schoolwork at home online full time and watches him all weekend while I work… he is an amazing father! I’d love to give him some recognition for being such a great dad!” -Shannon Comeau
“As a father of teens and tweens, there is no better indicator that you have arrived than the ability to embarrass. Omar is a Master Embarrasser. Embarrassing can easily be done just by being seen in public, attempting to talk to your kids’ friends, or “liking” posts on facebook or instagram- commenting is even better. Omar likes to take embarrassment to a whole new level. This is done best when he is picking up our kids from school, parties, or other activities where all of their friends are present. When picking up our 14 year old daughter, Cora, from her dance class, he often will join the class and attempt to emulate their ballet, jazz or hip hop moves. His most recent “embarrassing” moment was when he attended Marcos’ 4th grade “Mexican Fiesta” day wearing cowboy boots and an embroidered shirt from Guatemala (purchased circa 1994 for a Tex Mex party). He was in charge of “Spanish Bingo” and gave the kids an extra surprise when they won their round by bringing them up to the front of the class and engaging them in a salsa dance. Thank goodness Marcos hasn’t hit middle school yet or he’d be asking to transfer. To be fair, my kids have all told me that I am WAY more embarrassing to have around than their father. They would rather have him dancing a jig than me just standing there ANY DAY!” – Jennifer Knapp Hernandez
“A great dad is a man not afraid to wear a tutu and bows in his hair! My hubby does it all the time for our 3 year old daughter. And yes he has worn it outside of the house. She wanted a tea party when she woke up from a dental surgery. So daddy was dressed for it. I was very proud of him that day.” -Christina Henry
“Dads are the best nap companions.” – Kristin Pastva
“When I couldn’t breastfeed I was heartbroken and crazy guilty. I couldn’t sleep or eat. My husband told me to take all of the information and booklets I had been reading non stop for weeks and we would burn it all in the backyard. The symbolism was touching and I could go back to trying to be the best mom I could be. ” – Raci Woodside
“A great dad will wipe the spit-up out of your hair. Actually maybe that makes a great husband.” – Lyndsay Arakelian Grega
“It’s easy for me to say my husband is one amazing dad! Daisy just adores her daddy and he is just head over heels for her. He is the only one that can really get her to crack up laughing!” – Kourtney Buchanan
“A great dad listens intently while you fill him in on your “crazy” day (emptied the dishwasher, went grocery shopping, made the bed).” – Courtney Conroy
“My babe spit up amniotic fluid and old blood when she was first born. Neither of us knew what the spit up/gagging was until a nurse explained it. My hubby held our tiny girl all night long, sitting in the hospital rocker, and helped her spit up every 20 minutes or so, all night long while I slept. Such a sweet daddy from day one. Now he’s the silliest playmate baby girl has. From protector to cuddler to baby comedian. That’s what a good daddy is, I think.” –Jennifer Jacquot-DeVries
“Even though he doesn’t consider himself a dad yet, little does he know his “buddy” is a test for the future. Constantly feeding… picking up poop… disciplining…all attention directed towards him like a spoiled child. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about our dog, Guinness. Eventually Ben will understand that Guinness is our “first baby” and a small test to keep something other than ourselves alive under our roof in preparation for parenthood. And he might not ever call him his “baby” like I do, but he’s surely in love and a proud parent deep down. Happy Father – to a dog- Day, Ben!” – Toni Geheb
“In addition to cleaning poop, Devin will drop anything he’s doing anytime to read to our son. Even if he’s already read that book 47 times in the last hour.” – Jamie Sona
“Hmm, hard to quantify what makes hubby a good dad, but when we were in the hospital he changed every single diaper she had and never complains when I have to go pump (going on 10 months) and he has to watch baby girl while I do it.” -Karen Walker
“A good dad is just as interested in the consistency and frequency of poop your babies have as you are.” – Bonnie French Keller
“I always get a kick out of my husband throwing the baby up in the air and ending up with spit up in his mouth.” – Lisa Kennedy
“Tony is the kind of Dad that is always up for an adventure with the kids. Last summer on vacation, he insisted we bring our bikes. I sighed and thought: less room to pack my beach chair and beer. Admittedly, those were two of the main ingredients I needed to create my vision of “vacation.” But we took them along anyway, and good ole’ dad found a bike trail that took our family of five right into the downtown area that we typically drive into, making it one of my favorite days of the trip! Dads really do have good ideas sometimes. We just have to give them the chance to be right once in a while.” – Amanda Symmes
“It’s the sweetest when big strong dads lower themselves to be with baby!” – Mara Torres
“The first time I left Steve with Stevie and Charlie for an evening he didn’t change either one of them (clothes or diapers-so they were each soaked through both) and they all fell asleep in front of the tv in the midst of whatever they were doing (Charlie face down on the floor. Steve and Stevie sitting straight up on the couch). I thought I was witness to a carbon monoxide poisoning crime scene. I literally went around frantically checking to make sure they were breathing. It was funny after it was clear that they were breathing, but I tell that story to everyone in the hopes that he gets so embarrassed that it won’t happen again.” -Katie Ciampoli
“My husband helps with everything, and I rarely need to ask. He cooks, cleans, does laundry, changes diapers, gives bath, plays, reads stories, does bedtime. He gets up in the middle of the night if necessary, snuggles, feeds. If it involves taking care of us (baby and me), he does it willingly and happily. He is so good with our daughter – he gets on the floor and plays with her, zooms her around like an airplane – keeps her entertained!” – Sarah Willis Vanderpool
“Dad grew up during the Great Depression and saw combat during WWII, but he has never taken himself or life too seriously. He modeled that for his children.” – Lynda Page
“After my 68 hour labor and c-section, it was Steve’s first night on diaper duty. After “changing” her he forgot the key element of putting Charlotte’s diaper back ON and he didn’t wake to the baby’s screaming (because she was soaked, what with the no diaper). He then ‘lost all baby-duty night privileges.’ Come to think of it, he might have made out on that one.” -Amie Nangle
“Last night I asked Stevie what makes daddy a good daddy and he said “He takes me to Legoland.” His dad has never taken him to Legoland but this conversation came shortly after a conversation where Stevie was telling us about how awesome Legoland is and he was trying to convince his dad to take him there last night. I guess he thought his response might sweeten the pot. I asked him the same question this morning and he said “food.” This followed a conversation where he was asking for toast. So there you have it.” – Katie Ciampoli
“My son’s first pee outside the womb was on my husband, who changed ALL of my son’s diapers in the hospital, without complaining. I think he’s a great dad! – Kristie Smith
“A great dad is more concerned than you are when the baby bumps its head” – Becca Newhall
“A great dad is a dad who tells the mum how much she is appreciated! All the little things that they do every day. Food doesn’t get into the house by magic for instance. Especially for mums who have 2 jobs (their job at home and their job outside the home, the 2nd shift). The dads who when they get home from work pick up the baby/talk and play with the kids etc. not just sit in front of the computer/tv/tablet/phone. The dads that know the mums need the break and have been waiting for them to arrive!” – Mariel Slater
“Preparing to be a Dad and taking care of a baby but then successfully taking care of both mom and baby post c-section. Considering how much our son slept, I needed the most help.” – Courtney Lewis
“My husband likes to teach the baby ‘vital skills’ and calls me into the room with ‘Hey! Checkout out what he can do!’ He also does a very animated Itsy Bitsy Spider waaayyy too close to the baby’s face.” – Sarah Warren
“My husband has gone above and beyond to be an amazing daddy and my little girl adores him. I guess you can say she is definitely daddy’s little girl.” – Candy Vasey
“A great dad is way better at giving piggy backs than mommy ever will be!!” – Meaghan Rygiel
“This man pictured below is an amazing father and he most certainly got the hang of this parent thing far faster than I did. Not only does he make bubbas, change diapers, give bathes, picks out snazzy outfits, feeds cereal, and plays for hours on end with our daughter Violet. He also texts me pictures and gives me updates constantly while I’m at work so I don’t miss anything. He lets me take naps when I need it and is always ready to go shopping when we need something for our baby girl. He always goes above and beyond and I love him so very much for it!” – Jessica Phinney
“Great dads know that family and friends mean everything. Also, they know how to rock a pair of shorts.” – Liz Curtis Faria
And finally, I’d like to end with Brooke Takhar’s short essay on her grandfather. It’s beautifully written, and reminded me that there are great dads in every generation. Brooke blogs at missteenussr.
The summer before I turned 12 was spent on 2 acres of Aldergrove woods with my maternal grandparents. I had my own bed in my own room, complete with blue and green shag carpet and musty stacks of my Mom’s old Trixie Belden books.
Every morning as my brother and I lay on our bellies inhaling Froot Loops in front of the TV my Grandpa would lumber down the stairs, in a robe short enough for us to see his craggy kneecaps, and bellow “Are you still here?”
We couldn’t have loved him more.
I’m sure two kids under 12 still adjusting to their parent’s divorce weren’t the most intensely fun visitors to have underfoot for a summer, but he never let on. We mowed the lawn together. Talked about his days being on a submarine in the Navy. Sat side by side while he “read” the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
We bombed down to the “Excited States” in his brown Honda Civic hatchback (that would eventually be mine when I was 16), his great paw of a hand slapping the gear shift as he sang along (poorly) to the radio. Outside the dairy, he handed over dripping cones, stacked high with the whitest sweetest frozen cream I’d ever tasted.
He was our partner in crime, the first to start gently slamming his fork and knife at the dinner table when my Grandma was fussing in the kitchen too long. “We want food! We want food!”
He was our friend, advisor and jester. He gave us his time, but more adeptly, he worked us into what he was already doing. And made it fun. And taught us things that made us laugh. And shared all his love completely. As an adult now, I see the angles. Amazing.
Summers like that feel endlessly forever when you’re in the middle of them; sticky, swatting mosquitoes, listening to the Stand by Me soundtrack and hoping your friends haven’t forgotten you already.
But when you studiously think back on them, they’re tiny blips of magic. Fireflies of memory you try and collect quickly before they fade. Sweet days and nights spent with a man that I would love to catch up with today. He’d hate my Blog, love my kid and split a frozen Charleston Chew with me on a porch. My Grandpa.
What a beautiful collection – thank you for letting me be a part of it. Xo
Brooke, thank YOU for writing such a nice essay! It had me teared up. Love it.
My husband was thrilled to be included! It was a wonderful extra Father’s Day gift. Thank you so much!!!
Awesome, that makes me happy Jessica! Glad he was psyched 🙂
A wonderful tribute to Fathers everywhere and to the kids who think they are the best!
Thank you, Liz, for an amazing tribute to the Dads and Granddads that we love and admire so much. This post had it all…sweetness, laughs, sass, poignancy. I know there must be an award for blogger of the year or specific posts. You should be nominated and you should win! You put in a lot of effort to pull this together. Happy Father’s Day everyone!
This is so sweet! Now I have baby fever…better write another post to set me straight!!
I’ll write something off-putting about babies shortly to get your head back in the right place. No worries.
So good to see all of these awesome dads out there!!! What a fun Father’s Day shout-out. Great job, Liz!!!
Happy Father’s Day. A very nice article to recognize all those amazing dads out there.
Awesome post…but you forgot one super special guy…who is like a father to me….Mr. Henry Faria!!
He’s in there Kim, check the bottom! (There have been a few working versions of the post depending on when photos came in 🙂 )
Brian, Liz's husband
Thanks Kim! Yes, my dad is great; from playing ball in the yard to family vacations to 4am drives to swim practice all with a tireless work ethic.
A man who has given so much of himself without asking for anything in return. Really a great dad and Papa!
Liz, I love your blog and have to give a shout-out to my friends Toni and Ben (and Guinness) – who introduced me. This is a great post, and I was delighted to see that little family on there too! I am not a mother yet but I appreciate your writing and wit helping to prepare me. 🙂
Thanks Whitney! That’s so nice! I’m glad that you like the blog, and also glad that you caught Ben in his special role as dog-dad 🙂