Since first meeting the mister in the school yard decades ago, I've seen him in various stages of "play." Innocently enough as a little man, mischievously enough as a little bit bigger man, with wild abandon after hours of thankless work as a teenager, with calm and roguish charm as a college man, with relish on vacations after earning it, and with kindness and creativity as an uncle - both literally and figuratively - to all the little people swarming around us.
I began to wonder what he would be like with his own baby. After watching him take care of horses, cows, dogs, and everything in between with such kindness and continuous concern, I had no doubt he would be a great daddy.
But how would he be when playing with his own? Would he be as energetic and excited, after already taking care of them for hours on end? Or would he be constantly erring on the side of caution, being very careful every moment?
Not so much. And isn't that one of the many assets of Daddy? He teaches you how to jump in with two feet, to not be scared, to try things, and to be brave and confident. Mama? She teaches you to brush your teeth.
In Daddy's care, there is full-on toy attack of the living room, with lots of babbling and ha-has and grins. In Daddy's care, there is tumbling and wrestling and rough housing on Mama and Daddy's bed, with jumping and rolling and hiding in the covers. In Daddy's care, there are shoulder rides everywhere, where she grins and claps and spurs him on excessively. In Daddy's care, there are cookies and Gatorade. In Daddy's care, there's swinging really high in the pink swing, with lots of oohs and aahs.
As a result of being in Daddy's care, there will be more trips to feed the hog dogs, more trips to let the horses out, more trips to check the hay and the water trough, more bruises, more scrapes, more bumps, more rickety jeep rides, more horse rides without a helmet, more fun, and more freedom.
And now I know how he is with his own.