I would be remiss if I let Father’s Day get too far behind us without recognizing the other great dad in my life: Mark.  I know I’ve raved about Mark before and claimed that he is the quiet hero of this journey, sitting back and letting others (i.e., me) take all the accolades and attention, but there is no way I could have made it through Austin’s cancer or any other day of parenting without Mark.

The boys, November 2007

The boys, November 2007

For years I’ve noticed that when I’m with other moms, they use the pronoun “I” when talking about raising their children: “I try to sneak vegetables into . . . ” or “I only use time-outs when. . .” while my sentences always start with “we.” We do this and we do that, from food to discipline to bedtime routines to everything else groups of moms discuss. Mark and I do it all together. Parenting is a truly joint venture.

Mark shaving his head for St. Baldrick's 2009

Mark shaving his head for St. Baldrick's 2009

This point is highlighted by the fact that I never have to tell Mark what to do with the kids in my absence. He knows how each boy takes his milk (Braedan mostly soy with a little bit of skim, Austin mostly 1% with a splash of soy), which books are must-reads before naps, the entire bath and bed routine. If I’m at an evening meeting (common) or away for the weekend (not-so-common), I don’t need to leave long lists of what to feed them, how to entertain them, the best tricks for soothing each one’s various needs. Mark is a hands-on, fully present, totally engaged dad, “full-service” as Kelly Corrigan says of her own husband.

August 2007, the beginning of Austin's journey

August 2007, the beginning of Austin's journey

This past year, Braedan’s classmates were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. The responses were typical pre-school fare: fire fighters and doctors, ice skaters and princesses. Braedan thought for a moment and then picked that grown-up job which he most admires: daddy.

He sure has the perfect role model.

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