The movie was a romantic comedy—perfect for my first real date with Frank away from our mixed group of friends—but the question he asked afterward was serious.
"So, you want kids, right?"
I flung back, half-laughing, "Sure, but not tonight, okay?"
Truth was, his question didn't surprise me. We were in our late 20s, from traditional backgrounds, and our best friends, who were married to one another, had already confided that one reason Frank's previous marriage had broken up was this very question. My Husband Cooks And I Watch Sports: Our Untraditional Marriage
So we had kids—the first arriving eight years later, after three years of infertility, during which I came close to giving up. Frank never did. After which I worked my way through severe postpartum depression, and felt then (and still do) that I may not have survived were Frank not the terrific father I had long suspected he'd be. When I could barely conceive the meaning of motherhood, Frank slipped seamlessly into fatherhood, showing me what was possible.
I'm not talking about shouldering an equal load of diapers, bottles and wiping baby vomit—though he did that. I'm not even talking about nighttime feedings and rocking a colicky baby for two hours when he had to be up for work at 6 a.m. How My Husband And Kids Inspired Me To Love Memorial Day
I'm talking about being a father from the first moment, without faking a thing. While I needed months to figure out the motherhood thing, Frank got it—instantly. At 12:59 one snowy night, he was an expectant father, and when his son was born at 1:01, Frank stepped unhesitatingly into fatherhood. Seventeen years later, Frank is still fathering by instinct, still pretty terrific. He's just plain good at his job, maybe because he doesn't really think of it as a job.
When our first son was only two weeks old, I complained to my cheerful husband, who was as sleep-deprived as I, "How can you be so up?"
He just shrugged. "Easy. I'm loving it."
I believed him and envied his effortless ease. I still believe him, though the intervening years of raising two sons, rough spots and all, has somewhat tempered his nonchalance.