“My father, my daddy. Oh you don’t know how to do it? My daddy does. My daddy knows how to do everything better than you. Oh, if my daddy would have done that shelf it would have come out better …”
— Steve Tervino, comedian, joking about his wife
For the record, I am a strong, capable woman who was raised by a strong capable woman. That said, my mother also did not raise a fool. I married a man who has every right to his nickname, “Mr. Wonderful.” I am not going to attempt to reroute his “caretaker” wiring. We each have our strengths — and weaknesses. Together, I like to think we make a whole. That’s partnership.
Things that I allow my husband to do for me include but are not limited to anything involving bugs and vermin, vehicle repairs and the pumping of gas. Mr. Wonderful is absolutely convinced that I plan my entire week so he is in my car when it might need gas. I can neither confirm nor deny this.
I have already written about how he rises early to make sure my path to the car is clear and safe. He leaves me hot coffee and warm feelings. He has raced out of the house to greet me with an umbrella if it is raining particularly hard. We have been together 30 years this year, and he still does this.
I grew up with my single mom. We had a wonderful “Gilmore Girls” style existence. Love that woman to pieces. She was my mom and dad, and I feel like I turned out fairly well. No regrets.
My own daughter was raised the more traditional way — she grew up with her marvelous, capable and ever-loving “daddy.”
Now, she and I are terrifically close. I love this child with my whole heart and now that she is an adult, I count her among my best friends. She is pure joy to my heart. That said, she is also an unabashed daddy’s girl. From her earliest days, she toddled around after him, gummy grin and sparkling eyes at the very sight of him.
In a short time, she was sitting on his lap and “steering” the tractor, or truck, down our long lane, thrilled to be in the “driver’s seat.” I will never hear Alan Jackson’s famous “Drive” (aka “Daddy Let me Drive”) without thinking of the two of them.
Later he would be her soccer coach, and those two got along swimmingly. They are each other’s biggest fans.
He would have less success coaching our son. Not because the two of them aren’t equally wonderful, rather, because our son is wired more like his mama. We prefer our coaching — and our criticism — in smaller doses. Not to mention, how are we going to complain bitterly about the Coach if he’s sitting across the dinner table from us? I kid, but barely.
Mr. Wonderful worked 60-plus hour weeks. In his “off-time,” he was at games and practices. He started out with pee-wee soccer and moved on to competitive leagues. Some weekends we traveled long distances to witness impressive losses. Still, they laughed.
We made memories long before she started breaking records. Awards are fun too, but it was never about the wins. It was always about the good times spent together.
At least a half dozen times last weekend he answered “Hey dad …” telephone calls to diagnose car repairs and tax issues. They are grown and flown, but they still reach for him if they have a question. If they need an “adultier adult” so to speak. He is, in every way, the example of what a husband and father should be for our children.
Our daughter loves her apartment, law school and her grown-up life. She also fully admits that coming “home” to hang out is sometimes just the recharge she needs. She laughs at Mr. Wonderful’s “dad jokes” and marvels at his skill around the house. I mean nobody can hang a shelf quite like her daddy. Just ask her, she will tell you.
I know that her fiance is a strong and capable man too. We often say he reminds us of her dad. If you look at many successful couples they will say the same. Our soon-to-be WonderSon-in-law is aware that he has big shoes to fill. We believe in every way he is capable.
I have thousands of photos of our family together. One of my favorites was taken when GirlWonder was around eight years old. She is tucked under his shoulder with the most contented smile on her face. The photo shows a girl confident that her daddy can do anything — including adore and support her in all that she does.
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