To The Papas

I write a lot about parenthood. I am a mama, so that is the voice I take, but I never mean to exclude papas. I know there are at least a few in this readership, brave men who stand up to all the estrogen flying.

I have always meant to write directly to you, for once. And with Father’s Day fast approaching I thought now would be a good time.

I saw a statue once, a small thing, impressionistic. At the center was the sphere of a baby’s head, around which arms circled and, gazing down, the head of the mama. Circling the mama was another swoop of arms and, watching over all, the head of the papa. That image has stayed with me since, almost hauntingly.

In this eternal symbol of family, the mother is sandwiched. I can tell you about that feeling, and often do. I struggle with the claustrophobia of it every day. But at the same time, we are protected. We are given the gift of being able to give all of ourselves to our babies. The father stands, heart open to all that he loves, back to the wild world. I don’t presume to know what that feels like, but I am quite certain it is every bit as challenging.

I don’t often say it, lost as I am in the small world of my own brain, but be assured– when I champion motherhood, I am necessarily championing fatherhood. The difference is the turning over of a coin.

As parents of either gender, at home or supporting the home, we are all of us involved in the growing of people. You papas who go out into the world, you are the interface. You allow us to focus on our babies and be the mamas we want to be. We don’t say it much, turned as we are to the small loud people in the room, but you make everything possible. You are both shelter and inspiration. You hold all that is dear within that span of arms.

Thank you.

9 thoughts on “To The Papas

  1. Beautiful. My formative iconic image of beautiful fathering struck me one time when I was a young teenager. A hippy couple were at a bus- stop, cooing over their baby, in mama’s sling. They were a holy trinity. Their energy was beautiful. I had never seen anything quite so pure before. ( my own family were a bunch of fuck ups). From that moment on I knew I wanted my own trinity like that some day, with a man wild and gentle, loving and strong. And I have it! Except we aren’t a trinity any more as there’s 6 of us!
    Hurray for all you lovely Daddies.

  2. You have brought tears to my eyes. That was so beautifully said. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I must share that with my man – I wish I could have said it myself! You are so eloquent and wise. Again, thank you.

  3. Man you can WRITE. Where do you find those words? I may steal some for DH’s Father’s Day card.

  4. Very lovely CJ. This is why you get the big bucks! Ha. It’s so true, there would be no caring momma’s if we didn’t have that barrier of kindness between us and the outside world. Supporting us in strong, silent way that often gets overlooked in the world of small people. Thanks for reminding all of us.

  5. Beautifully said. I often feel guilty because Father Earthly looks after all of us and sees that we all get what we need as much as possible – but he rarely gets looked after himself! Hurrah for wonderful Dads and all they bring to our families :)

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