When I married my husband six years ago, vows were exchanged, commitments were made, and I knew, without a doubt, I was in love.
Fast forward to today - my husband, Shane, is the father to our 17-month-old son, and I have fallen in love with that man all over again. Now that we have Zachary together, my love for Shane has grown even stronger - it grows deeper each time I see him snuggle, laugh or wrestle with our toddler.
When Shane became a dad, he traded his tough-guy persona for one that is more loving, nurturing, sensitive and caring. Not that he didn't exhibit these traits before, but they really stand out now that he's added "Daddy" to his list of titles.
He's also displayed a vulnerable side that I don't often see in him. When Zachary was just days old, Shane and I were up in the middle of the night doing a diaper change. I distinctly remember him tiredly admitting, "I don't know what the heck I'm doing." On a lighter note, during the newborn days, I walked into the nursery to see Shane proudly changing a diaper - then realized he was putting the fresh diaper on backward.
I became an aunt when I was just 10 years old, so I grew up around babies. Shane did not, so his comment, as well as this early diaper experience - while surprising to me then - are quite understandable. We've both come leaps and bounds since those moments of midnight exhaustion. Being new parents, we are always learning.
From the start, we've tag-teamed it as parents. On weekends we take turns waking up with Zachary so the other one can get some extra sleep. We trade off playing and making dinner. One gives baths while the other dresses our tot.
We make family time a priority - nightly walks with the dogs, meals together, reading books and letting some energy out by bouncing on the bed. In these moments, catching a glimpse of Shane's smile and that incredible way he looks at our son shows his genuine love for our family, and makes my affection for him all the stronger.
Zachary is a big fan of his daddy. When he wakes up, he is sure to notice if Shane has already gone to work. When Shane is home in the morning, our toddler quickly finds him, exclaiming "Dada," excited that he hasn't left for the day.
The two often venture outside with each other; they also snuggle as they watch one another's favorite shows. Shane tells me he really enjoys these occasions when our son shows how much he likes his Daddy time, and I love hearing him say that.
While it's probably the norm for moms to do most of the shopping for our kids, Shane impresses me with his ability to pick out cute clothing, shoes and toys. My husband comes home with different items found during a quick shopping trip - a plaid Superman shirt, an orange swim shirt and trunks adorned with octopuses, stylish sunglasses.
Shane, Zachary and I learn and grow together, and our love grows as well. I consider it a blessing to have a husband who is so involved with our family. Moms, sit back, relax and let your hearts grow fonder of your husbands as you watch them cuddle and play with those little babes that you so lovingly care for together.
Email Sarah McKeown at firstname.lastname@example.org