I remember the nights well when my son was a new born and I'd watch him sleep in his cot. To be honest initially I would watch in fear that he'd stop breathing, and then as time went on it was a joy to watch him be so cosy in his sleep suit and so peaceful. I would stand there and be truly amazed that he was here, he was growing, changing and making those cute little noises as he slept.
My son is seven years old and I still do it. Not every night, but sometimes I'll sneak in late at night and just marvel at him. It's a precious time, he doesn't know he's brilliant and funny though I do tell him, but well sometimes kids hear what they want to hear. He does know that he pumps a lot, of this he is proud and constantly amused by it. He still makes the same cute noises as he sleeps. Those quiet times at night allow me to reflect and reminds me that my love for him grows each day.
As ever it makes me think of my dad, did he do the same? Did he stop to think about me and my brother? And what did he pass onto me, what did my father give me? I know he gave me safety, and an ability to be myself without judgement. Sure my dad might have 'tutted' about my choices, or ways of behaving, but in the main he did let me go my own way. I've said previously my dad died a few years ago, I think of him every day he is in my heart, and around my waist. When he died I came across an old belt buckle of his and had it made into a belt that I wear constantly. It feels good to keep him close.
2016 is the Year of the Dad. Fathers Network Scotland are being supported by The Scottish Government to help celebrate dads, to focus on the positive impact they have on family life, and to start talking about what changes dads would like to feel better supported. There's a whole series of events happening, and there's lots of great opportunities to talk about dads today, as well as those dads whose shoulders we stand on.
I know my dad would have reacted to 'Year of the Dad' with a 'tut' and a question of what's it all about? For me, I'm a fully paid up member of Year of the Dad, I say let's do it. Let's get out there and tell everyone that Dads rock and sometimes need just a wee bit more space for people to see that. At the same time, as they said in "Hill Street Blues", let's be careful out there. There are already tons of negative images and poor perceptions of dads. Dads need to be seen as a positive force not just for our children, but for all, it's about being a positive part of the family, part of the community and society. We know dads can have a huge positive impact on all of the above, and sometimes dads even help keep our breeks up. So go forth, let the dads watch over their children in the cots and beds, let Year of the Dads be the birth of something truly amazing.