Two Things I learned from the New Daddies

"And when he has found his child,
he will joyfully carry you home
on his shoulders."

Luke 15:5

It's only been a year, but already I can see the brave and broad shoulders of fatherhood on the men in our growing family, the Daddies of the Wonders.

Back in May, I shared with you what the new Mamas have taught me at the time of their first Mama's Day.

Now, I am thinking about my own Pops Daddy who lost his father to tragedy when he was just a baby boy. He never got to know his Daddy, yet still knew how to be a loving, proud-of-his-children father to me and my brother and sister.

Your Daddy or your man may be the first to father well, but believe me, they can do it without having had it themselves.

I'm also thinking of Mike, Daddy to our Whippersnappers,
these new Daddies (Sean and Zeke) on their first Daddy's Day.

Here is what I see.

New Daddies know the baby stuff.

The new Daddies in our family (and probably yours) were in the delivery room, cut the umbilical cord and slept in the hospital room until they all came home together. Sean and Zeke knew how to get that carseat in the middle of the backseat connected snuggly to the anchors. And they know just as well as the Mamas how to snap in the Wonders without pinching their pudgy little thighs.

When they went home, they figured out the first days and even weeks together. The new Daddies took time off from their hard work to start this new life together and you can see it's rewards.

The new Daddies don't just know about the baby stuff like diapers, pacifiers, breast feeding and daily schedules, they know it well. These Daddies know how to diaper and swaddle a little Wonder. They go to well baby visits, know the nap times and the precise roll-out of new foods the Wonders are eating right now. (Hint: it doesn't come out of a jar.)

Mike and I did a whole lot more divide-and-conquer type of parenting which reflected the era (ok, now that sounds old), but also a savvy parenting technique once you have more children than available hands. Watch out now.

There's a whole lot of sharing and it's a beautiful thing, not 50/50 but 110/110. These are good percentages for marriage too.

This second thing I learned is not new, but a remembering. I am happy and grateful to tell you it is still being passed down beautifully, and not just in our home. I saw it just today on my way to church.

Daddy shoulders hold the view.

There's a spot, high in the world, where every blessed child gets to see the world (or should) - a Daddy's steady shoulders.

There's something magical about seeing a child on a daddy's shoulders, chubby knees at his cheeks holding on to hair or ears, or little fingers beneath his chin or perhaps only reaching as far as his beard (ouch!).

We walked to a farmer's market one sunny Saturday and Crosby, a.k.a. The Blueberry, just nestled into Mike's neck resting his head on his shoulders and stayed there wide-awake. Sigh. I was happy just to see Blueberry's trust and contentment.

The new Daddies are already onto the secret of giving their Wonders this spectacular view of the world. This view is panoramic, exhilarating, over the tops of many heads, safe and secure.

It is possibilities.

Somehow my own Daddy's muscled shoulders are part of holding up Crosby and Eliza, along with Mike's dad, Hank, though he never got the joy of meeting the Wonders. Other Daddy shoulders hold the view - Monica's dad, Tom, and Zeke's dad, Bob.

The next time you're at a park, along a river or at a farmers' market, watch for little wonders on their daddy's shoulders and smile for their blessings.

Take any chance you get to put a child on your shoulders. Some will need a stand-in. You can offer the view even if it is new to you.

And remember that you've been carried on the bravest, broadest shoulders of all, those of your Savior and Shepherd who really holds the view.

Photo by Monica Conlin.