This father’s day i am happy to introduce Rabia Lieber to the Dads are Awesome! series.Rabia is the Co-Executive Director and Chief Van Operator in the Lieber household. She’s a full-time working mom of three (one girl and two boys) who blogs in her “spare” time; whatever that is! She’s been married to her husband, Ken, for 14 years and together they are trying to teach their children to pretend they have manners in public, appreciate all things geek, and gracefully avoid meltdowns before bedtime and in the grocery store. She blogs about family life and other things that strike her fancy over at http://thelieberfamily.com.
I was sitting at the dining room table recently, checking things on my phone and waiting for Benjamin to finish dinner. The good news is that he is slightly more willing to try new things lately. The bad news is that it takes him a long time to muster up the courage to lick an unfamiliar piece of pasta.
In my head I was making a list of all the things I needed to get done: put away dinner, get the kids started on bedtime routines, fold a load of laundry. I was also working hard to hold my tongue and not scold Benjamin for taking so long to eat! My oldest and my youngest are very slow eaters, while my middle inhales everything off his plate in the blink of an eye.
For some reason, on this particular night, I was hit with a flashback I wasn’t expecting. Me, sitting at the dining room table as a child, picking apart my dinner and chatting with my dad. I was a slow eater too. I don’t remember getting scolded about it. I remember it as a sweet time. Why? Because despite the fact that my mom and siblings had long since left the table, my dad was still there. He was done with his dinner, but he stuck around the chat with me. Who knows, maybe he had a list in his head of things to do: put away dinner, send kids to bed, read a book. But he wasn’t doing those things. He was chatting with me.
My parents tag teamed parenting duties when I was a kid. My dad worked the traditional 9-5 in an office, while my mom worked evenings, nights or weekends as a labor and delivery nurse. I don’t remember missing either parent or wondering why one wasn’t around at certain times. That was just the normal I grew up with. And because of the schedule, my dad was usually the one to cook dinner, supervise homework, and read bedtime stories.
My dad always called me his favorite daughter. Sometimes people just smiled. Other times people would look shocked that he would say such a thing. Most people, though, understood the fact that I was the only girl. We moved when I was nine. One of my first friends was a girl one year older than me, whose father also worked at the local university. Her name is Tara, and after a while, the joke got to be that Tara was his favorite daughter. We still refer to her that way 25+ years later! I’m happy to share the title, because I know deep down in my heart that he really does like me more!
Shortly after I got married, I scolded my father for giving me unrealistic expectations about men. See, in my house the rule was if you cooked dinner, you didn’t have to do the dishes. I thought that was just how things worked! My husband, coming from a more “traditional” family had grown up with a mostly stay at home mom who did the majority of cooking and cleaning. It didn’t come naturally to him to pitch in. I had to work on that!
One surprising joy of becoming a parent is watching my parents become grandparents. My dad gets to recycle his extremely lame jokes on a new audience who appreciates them just as much as I used to. He gets to re-read stories to my kids in the same voices he used with my brothers and me. And he tells my daughter that she is his favorite granddaughter, while she giggles and grins and points out that she’s his only granddaughter.