I don’t know when it happened.
One day we were sitting out by my parents pool celebrating the end to another year at university, and the next we had three kids, two cars, six giant trees and an only slightly terrifying mortgage. In the span of four short years Cam has become the Dad to three kids who’s favorite pastimes include riding horsey all at once and playing gang-up on daddy soccer.
Cam isn’t the kind of guy who wakes up one morning and decides he’s going to start a family. He’s a thinking man. A weigh-er of options. A studier of situations. An analyzer and a question ask-er. He thinks it through, talks it through and sees all the potential issues that might arise. He is patient, and kind, and thoughtful. He is married, as you likely know, to a doer. A not-super rational-er. A lets just give it a try-er. So together we take steps, and sometimes leaps, and when we’re lucky things work out. But sometimes it’s scary. And he is there. Always. Mopping up the floor, picking up the child, thinking of the best way forward, or out, or over…. And it’s in those times that I look at him, this boy who turned into a man, who turned into a Dad… and I wonder how I ever got so lucky.
We started with one. We were among the first in our friendship group to have a baby – so we worried about how this new phase would impact our enchanted life. He was kind of a dream baby… so we ended up with lots of sleep, and lots of big smiles early on.
Cam turned into “Dad” within seconds. He cared for and adored Matthew from moment one, as most dads do. But for Cam, it meant stepping outside of his comfort zone, every minute of the day. And from that morning in December four and half years ago on, he has continued to step up and be an unbelievably engaged Dad. Matt became a part of our every day. We didn’t have to change very much, but through Cam’s choices he brought Matt along into his love of hockey, his roller coaster passion for the canucks, his enjoyment of lego and cereal, and icecream. Matt adores his dad. I think it’s in large part because every day Matt can tell his Dad adores him too….
Every step of the way it’s been exhilarating, scary, and filled with questions – and at each point, right as I wasn’t sure how we were going to tackle this next hurdle I felt it … his arm slide around my back. And I’d know we were going to be okay because we were in it together. There have been some crazy moments. And some really hard moments (And to those of you reading who are way ahead of us – I know … the real tough stuff is yet to come). I’ll never forget his face when Matt was just 10 months old and I drove up to his office and asked him to come downstairs to meet me. Tears streaming down my face I thrust the ultrasounds towards him. He didn’t understand. He thought something was wrong. I had gone to this ultrasound alone – after baby #1 things get busier and you can’t be there for each step together, divide and conquer is sometimes just reality. The recognition of what “A” and “B” meant crept across his face and I watched intently through a blur of my own fear. I had pushed too hard this time. How were we going to do this? Our son wouldn’t even be a year and a half when we had TWO more babies. We lived in a tiny, amazing, perfect little house… with two bedrooms. We had an easy, comfortable life. How? He looked at me and smiled. He hugged me super tight. And he said, Ker – we can do this – this is wonderful news. And again – he was right.
Our baby girls came five weeks early and had to spend some time in the hospital. This was our first time away from Matt, my Dad was nearing the end – and with each passing day our girls were getting weaker instead of stronger. Cam stood strong. He went home daily to play with, feed and put Matty to sleep – while his mom dropped everything and cared for our son and my mom cared for my ailing dad. He came back with pictures and sometimes even a smiling Matty. He held my hand when a nursery stay turned into a (quick in hindsight) visit to the NICU, and when increased oxygen turned into CPAP and when nursing turned into feeding tubes. Our girls rallied quickly, and again we were lucky. By day 10 we were all heading home together. Our family of five.
Cam showed Matty how to be an amazing brother. He coloured and played soccer, ate freezies and went for walks, answered endless “why” questions and went on countless drives to either make babies sleep or take one who had had enough out of the scene. He shared the secret of delicious milkshakes with hidden fruit, and he learned to love to read stories and signs and cereal boxes to our inquisitive kiddos. Despite what you see in these pictures Cam doesn’t love to dress up. Being super man and Santa – not his fav. But he does it, and now he does it without even so much as a “seriously?!” look my way (getting him to be peter pan for the girls birthday might be a bit of a stretch but I’ll try…)
And now that we have friends and family with their own babes, I’ve loved watching each of those guys turn into Dads and be amazing. These last four years have been crazy, and busy and demanding – but Cam knows how fast it’s flying. Yesterday we had three kids who couldn’t walk or feed themselves. Today they know how to gang up on him in a water gun fight. Tomorrow they’ll wave out the window as they drive off to university. And in between I’m sure we’ll have heartache, and struggle and worry. And I’m just so unbelievably grateful to have this amazing guy as the Dad to our kids – because I know we’ll get through it…with a smile. Happy fathers day sweetie.