Today I visit my Dad, a man who literally gave me life. If it hadn’t been for him delivering my newborn self into this world, Mom and I might have died in a difficult birth. He and Mom have kept the scissors used to cut my umbilical cord, but I won’t post that gross picture. Instead here is one of Dad, my niece Freya, and me when we gathered together for a few days of treasured quiet.
I enjoy our time together. As the years pass, I see more of Dad in me—analytical, definitely introverted, skilled in math. We chill around the house where he and Mom raised my siblings and me, working on our computers, reading, and talking when we feel like it. Last visit I burned a frozen gluten-free pizza I “treated” Dad to, and he ate it with no complaints. That’s love, huh?
Eleven years ago Waterman, the fine writing instruments company, held a promotion of their new line of Exception pens. I submitted my entry into their “Exceptional Father’s Contest,” where writers had to convince the judges in less than 250 words why their dad was the best. Their plan was to roll out the winners on Father’s Day, but it didn’t happen. When June came and went, I figured this was yet another writing effort that I tried and could shelve. October’s chill arrived and along with it, both Dad and I received an incredible gift: a Waterman Exception Night and Day pen for the larger-handed father and a smaller Exception Slim pen for me. I was ecstatic. One of my friends has turned me into a pen snob, and here we were awarded with the ultimate (in my world) snobby gift. That pen goes with me everywhere in my purse. I actually rarely use it because the refill cost offends my accountant brain, but I love knowing that connection to my dad is next to my cell phone and mirrored powder compact.
To show my respect for an incredible dad, here is the entry I submitted:
My Exceptional Father
Men play a part in bringing a child into this world, but some men are cast to play the leading role. Mom had a long, unpredictable labor without the usual indicators that say, “Leave for the hospital!” A baby ready to breathe her first trapped my expectant parents in their small-town home.
Mom was struggling to give birth as Dad called a neighboring town’s doctor, the only option now that a one-hour drive to the hospital was impossible. The doctor didn’t make housecalls. Instead, an IT geek expert in mainframe computers was about to deliver his first baby. The doctor was kind enough to guide Dad through the process, but no one was prepared when baby got stuck.
There were no heart-monitors, teams of specialists or emergency C-sections. There was Dad, who got on his knees and prayed for mother and child. I popped out almost immediately, a miracle in the dead of that May night.
It was Dad who caught me in his sure and steady hands. It was Dad who cut my umbilical cord before it became popular for men to even be in delivery rooms. It was my exceptional Dad who gave me life thirty-six years ago.