With Father’s Day coming up, I tend to think a bit more about my husband’s role as a father to our kids. I’ve heard of some cases where the fathers have very little involvement with their kids, in comparison to the mothers. However, that is definitely not the case in our home. My husband is front and center in our family. And it’s not just because “Abba” (Hebrew for father) is easier to say than “Eema” (Hebrew for mother).
He loves to make the kids laugh. He’ll joke around with them, make silly faces, and sneak up and surprise them. He does different voices when he reads to them, which they also find funny. He isn’t afraid to step out of his comfort zone in order to get a good laugh. I love hearing the uninhibited joy in their voices when they genuinely laugh at something he does. He loves to play and it shows. He plays board games with the boys or even invents a new game for them to play. He teaches them how to play video games, as well. He’ll also take them to Chuck E. Cheese or the playground and become totally involved in whatever they are doing, even participating himself. He’s also firm with them when they misbehave and makes sure to explain why their behavior earned consequences. He’s fair and authoritative, but is not afraid to be the “bad cop” when it’s warranted.
My husband is very much involved in their well-being. Not only does he take our daughter to speech therapy every week, but he’s also involved with her physical therapy sessions. He also acts as advocate for both E and our daughter when it comes to anything regarding their hearing loss. He reads E’s IEP from beginning to end, documenting all the details to make sure E is receiving the correct services. When M was experiencing a health issue that concerned him, he reached out to get some answers.
He cares deeply about their religious development. He involves them in discussions about Jewish topics, reads a children’s version of the Torah to them every week, takes them to shul (if they are awake enough to join him), practices Hebrew with them, etc. I have a feeling he’ll be helping them write their Bar Mitzvah speeches one of these days. He will do whatever it takes to keep Judaism positive and enriching for them. He recently came up with a game to help them learn Hebrew, so that it would also be positive and motivating for them. Shortly after playing the game on Shabbat, E wanted to participate in evening prayers.
I hope my husband knows how much I appreciate him both as a spouse and as a father. I don’t just need Father’s Day to tell him this, but his role in our family means so much more to me than anything that is printed in a card.