Henry and his Daddy, Jan. 24, 2012

When he is older, I will tell my grandson Henry this story. It is his story, mostly. But it also belongs to other children who were, like him, born into a world where one income is seldom enough to support a family, but were lucky enough to have parents who made it work.
It’s a good story. He will like it.
“Henry,” I will say, deepening my voice to sound like Cat Woman, in the hope of holding his attention, “listen up. I’m getting old. Never mind how old. I want to tell you this before I forget. Are you ready?
“When you were 4-months-old _ the size, shape and sweetness of a big sack of sugar _ your mama had to go back to work.
“This was not something she wanted to do. She loved being a teacher, and she was good at it. But thanks to you, she had recently discovered the job she was best at, and loved most of all: Being your mama.
“Yes, even on days when you threw hissy fits reminiscent of your late, great-grandmother.
“Your daddy worked hard, too, long hours at a restaurant. But when it came time to decide who’d look after you while your mama was at school, he said, ‘I will. I want to take care of my son.’
“That is what he said, Henry. I heard it with my own ears. And you know I have really big ears.
“So he switched shifts at the restaurant to work nights and stay home with you by day.
“This was no small thing. Knights battling dragons were never as brave as your daddy. Not that he wasn’t up to the task. He was, absolutely. But he didn’t know it at the time. He’d spent only an occasional hour alone with you. Could you both survive an all-day smackdown? We were soon to see.
“That is where I came in. Your mama, ever the planner, asked me to fly in from Las Vegas (where you and your cousins would attend Nana Camp every summer) to be on hand to “help out” the first two weeks.
“I was happy to do so, if only for the chance to smell your neck. I loved smelling it then as much as I do now. Only, back then you smelled like milk. Now you smell like … a boy.
“This also allowed me to hang out with your daddy, whom I’d loved long before you were born but not as much as I’d come to love him in the next two weeks.
“Imagine our surprise the first day your mama went back to school (after she nursed you, changed you, pumped breast milk for later and kissed you a thousand times) when you flat-out refused to take a bottle.
“I told your daddy not to worry, you’d eat when you got hungry. It was not the last time you would prove me wrong.
“Hours passed like root canals and you, little toad, kept crying.
“Your daddy rocked you, sang to you, changed your diaper, swung you around the house like a June bug on a string.
“Finally, in desperation, he took a spoon and ladled your mama’s milk into your mouth. You lapped it up like a kitten.
“And that’s when I knew what I’d suspected all along: Your daddy was going to take good care of you. When your mama came home from school each day, you might cling to her like a cat trying to avoid a bath. But you and your daddy were going to be the best of friends.
“Not every boy is as lucky as you are, Henry, to know and be known by his father. Your dad knows this. Maybe that’s why he loves taking care of you.
“Maybe that’s why he said being with you had made him the happiest he’d ever been.
“Or maybe it was because you smelled like milk and tasted like sugar and threw fits like your late great-grandmother.
“Either way, he’s my hero. I suspect he will be yours, too.”


  1. Trina Ammar says

    Where 4 art thou Sharon! Miss u here in PG!! That story is something I needed today…. Thanx!!

  2. Debbie Szabo says

    Hmmm~~~Apparently I can’t count!! Eli Paul is our fourth grandbaby!!!!!

  3. Debbie Szabo says

    Fabulous story Sharon!!! I LOVE the “new” generation of Dad’s!! They are so involved in the care of their children now. Back 35 years ago, when I had my first child, my husband worked his butt off so I could be home with our daughter. We had decided that long before Erica was born that no one would be raising our children but us!! Because he worked so hard, he rarely took part in any of the child care and that was perfectly fine with me! I got to have her all to myself! (Although I will say that once in a while or if I was sick, a little help would have been nice!) My father never helped with taking care of us so I thought that was the way it was supposed to be! We have two daughters who married two wonderful guys and they are both great daddies!!! Erica and Tiffany are both stay-at-home mommies, and Dan and Dale help with everything!!!! I love it!! I love to watch our grandbabies just melt into their dads when they are home!! Our third grandchild, Eli Paul, was born three months early, spent 5 & 1/2 months in Rainbow Babies and Childrens’ Hospital in Cleveland before he came home. Dale was at the hospital every day with Tiffany and did everything they were allowed to do with him. He still will climb up onto his Daddy’s big broad shoulder and attach himself there for as long as he possibly can! Both Dan and Dale have taken part in every area of child care since day one. Feedings, diaper changing,bedtime rituals, etc. The bonds that these kids have with their fathers are precious! I am so thankful for that!! Henry will have that very same bond with his Daddy and how blessed they will be as a family!! Thanks for the great story Sharon!!

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