Every June we celebrate Father’s Day. To be fair, we Moms get a whole lot more fussing on our day in May than the Dads do. I hate to admit it, but I am always grateful that the kids’ teachers would make sure there was a card or crafty thing for Dad because I have been known to forget.
My husband and I aren’t greeting card people anyway. Our traditions don’t involve shmoopy mandatory cards, in fact we don’t follow the rules of magazine marriages and groove more to our own beat. For instance, we prefer to save for vacations and not go for expensive date night dinners. Out of necessity, a trip to Costco without the kids is what we call a date these days. We don’t exchange jewelry, or do couples massages at the spa, hell we don’t even stay up on New Year’s Eve anymore. We are knee deep in busy kids and being middle aged. We have earned our naps, and dammit, we will take those naps.
The one rule we do follow is an important vow from our wedding. Among the promises we made that day was that we would be there for each other in sickness and in health. At the time, we pictured the sickness part coming way the hell later than the health part. We had visions of sickness looking like elderly me helping geriatric him with his cane, or to find his teeth every day because he was forgetting where he put them. “In the glass on the bathroom counter honey”, I pictured myself saying. We knew realistically that humans start to fall apart as we age and in our declining years we would need to be strong for each other when illness came calling.
What we didn’t know is how little time we would have between “I do” and cancer.
It is me. I have cancer, and it is a bad one. My husband and the Father of our children had to make good on his promise to be there for me when it got hard. Really hard.
And because we aren’t celebrating “Husband Day” (although that should be a thing) this post is about my kids’ Dad. When I was diagnosed, he must have felt like he was suddenly crushed by a falling brick wall. I am not sure how he felt at first, because his initial response was that he would take the cancer on himself if he could wish it to be so. He was terrified for me, and our kids.
Others might have shunted aside their vow and succumbed to their fears and bolted. He did not. Every single day since cancer came to fuck up our lives, he has been doing everything possible to make my time happy and loving. We are deliberately creating legacy memories for him and our children. It isn’t as sad as it sounds, truly. Many women never get to see what their husband is made of when hell comes calling, but I did. There is joy in that.
I don’t know what it feels like to be the one who will have to carry on and be a single parent because I am not going to have to be the one to do it. He is. I know he will be as stalwart a Father as he is a husband with or without me.
I often tell him that when we met he was just waiting to be a husband and father. What I didn’t know is how wonderful he would be in those roles, and how lucky I am to entrust my children to this man when sickness finally overcomes health.