You know, I came really close to being trite right there. Typed out a couple of different things and then realized that it's just not accurate, so I deleted it.
This is what I almost wrote: The best father is the one who is there. And then I thought "Well, fuck, that ain't right. I saw my dad every weekend and quite a bit through the week, and he was pretty horrible. Erik's dad was there every day and he was just as bad."
So then I wrote: The best father is the one who is there, and good. And then I thought, "Well, shit, that's not right either. What about the divorced dads who can't be there?"
So I deleted them both, and left the sentence unfinished, 'cause the truth is I don't know what the "best father" is. Beyond "Not my dad" I'm actually kind of lost. To be realistic, it can't be summed up in a single sentence, and I'm an idiot for trying.
I guess, from a mother's standpoint (and a rather traditional sort of person), this is what I want in my kids' father:
- Someone who thinks well of his children, and speaks well of them to others. It will filter back to the children, and it will do them a world of good to know he's proud of them. (How many grownups have wondered about this?)
- Someone who doesn't try to be a mom with a penis. Guys do things differently, and that's good. There are things I just worry too much to push my kids to do, and that's what a father is for.
- Someone who provides, willingly, and who does more than the bare minimum. I'm not necessarily talking about money, either.
- Someone who spends time with the children--without having to be asked/told to, and without having to have someone else set it up. God knows I'm not saying men need to go to school functions, 'cause frankly I'd rather spork my own eyes out than sit through an elementary school awards ceremony. It's part of not being a mom with a penis. Do what you want to do with your kids.
- Someone who respects their mother. Vague enough? I'm trying. I know that marriages and partnerships end. Sometimes you wind up fucking hating the other person, and deservedly so. But don't stand in the way of your kids loving them. Just don't.
From where I sit, I think that's good enough.
Also, I'm really glad to have this guy: