Hello and welcome to a strange new world. You have traveled far through the desert, only to be met time and again by one empty oasis after another. You are lost and alone, wandering, wondering if someone, anyone, knows how you feel. And just when you think you can't go on, and no one could possibly understand your struggle, a hand reaches out to you, lifts you to your feet, and carries you to the promised land. He feeds you knowledge, shelters you from the self-righteous (and the ridiculous), and provides you with the tools you need to survive in this brave new world. You are a stranger in a strange land, but you are not alone. Let him be your guide. Follow closely as you travel together on this adventure of a lifetime. For now, you are a foreigner to "Fatherhood" but soon YOU will be the master of this realm.

"No Man is Expendable!"

This is Fodder 4 Fathers...


Valentine's Day, the most evil day on the Gregorian calendar,  a day that fills even the strongest of men with fear; a day that makes even the most romantic of men want to run and hide. Sure, I believe in tradition- I believe a man should get drunk on St. Patrick’s Day; I believe you should remember the men and women who fought for their respective countries on Memorial Day; and I believe you should light a Roman candle and aim it at your friend on any and all holiday's that allow you to set off fireworks. But I do not believe you need a day to tell to you to tell your spouse -or your significant other, or the girl you met last week who still hasn't invited you in for a night cap- that you love her. I just think it's wrong. I think it's manufactured like all the candy, and cards, and crap that has an entire industry of money grubbers wringing their hands gleefully every single year as they expect another payday on February the 14th. And I don't buy in to it.

Oh, I believe in love, the kind of love a man has for his wife as he rubs her feet reluctantly when he knows she's had a bad day; the kind of love that would cause a man to run out in the middle of night to buy his wife tampons because she ran out; the kind of love that would make a man sleep on the couch, ruining his back because his wife just can't sleep when he's snoring. Oh, I know love. I know sacrifice for the one you hold above all others. I know what it's like to do things for another human being that you might not even do for yourself, but whatever I do, I do by choice. I don't need a holiday to tell me I need to do shit that goes against my better judgement. I'm married. I do it every day. And all in the name of love.

I could buy in to the bullshit. I could make a reservation a month in advance for a fancy restaurant that barely breaks even 364 days of the year. I could buy expensive champagne, or flowers that shot up in price over night. I could buy bon bons and gifts made of diamonds and gold and pearls (with a small loan) but will that really show how much I love my wife? Don't I show her enough when she's cutting her toenails on the couch and leaving the clippings in the cushions? Don't I show her enough when I offer to give her a back rub and fall asleep before I get to the part where I ask for sex?  Don't I come to bed when asked, and pick my socks off the floor, and turn off the Hockey game when she's upset so I can comfort her about why one of her breasts is just slightly bigger than the other? I do my job. I fulfill my obligations- in sickness and in health. And then a day comes along to tell me I haven't been doing enough? Well, screw that.

I love my wife. Sure, I'm not as romantic as I could be with a two-year-old, three jobs and a mortgage to worry about, but I love her just as much as the day we wed- more so even. I love her for how hard she works for our family. I love her for the beautiful little girl she carried and brought in to this world so I could be her daddy. I love her for putting up with my shit, even when I'm an unbearable stubborn bastard. I love her each and every day, what's the point? Our love has evolved. I've seen her naked, and that's a sight to behold and all, but I've also held her hair back when she's had morning sickness, or had too much to drink. And if that's not love, what is? I mean if someone pukes in your hands because they can't make it to the washroom, is that not love?
And, I think she finally gets it. My wife finally understands my love is much more than a day of heart-shaped boxes, chocolates, flowers, sentimental cards, balloons and one upmanship between her and all her friend's to see whose husband did more on a day when we we're expected to be at the top of our game.
I think she finally sees through all the hoopla, and realizes that the man she has is something special - the husband, the father, the man she tells to brush his teeth every morning before he comes anywhere near her. I think she finally sees that love is all around her in all the little things I do, that collectively add up to more than a night at a fancy restaurant, or a bottle of Grey Goose, or a diamond necklace, or a mariachi band playing Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On." I think she sees me with my daughter, and the way that I dote on her and realizes that love is an everyday thing that gets repaid in small increments not giant gestures. And she realizes I treat her the exact same way. And it may not always be romantic, but it's the kind of love that endures, because it's built on affection, not the collection of some perceived debt that is owed to her for being the wonderful wife and mother that she is.
Besides, she still has Mother’s Day, and if I screw that up again she knows my balls will be in the proverbial sling. So this year there will be not ticker tape parade in my house on Valentine’s Day, just a nice card and a few other “small” surprises to say I appreciate you, with love from me to you.

And to think, if I knew having kids would have gotten me this reprieve from the most evil of days known to man, I would have done it years ago. Yet another reason to love my little girl… and the woman who brought her in to my life.

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