'I WISH it was the 1950s and I could hang out at a bar, smoking a cigar while you're in the delivery room," my husband sighed, half-joking. He told me this at least once a week during my pregnancy.
"Sorry, it's 2009, and you'll be in the room!" I explained for the hundredth time, rolling my eyes. "This is all part of the deal."
"All right, I'll be there, but I'm not watching."
When the time came, during a rare March snow, not only did my husband make good on his promise, he even watched.
He watched as I labored on our sofa for six hours. Massaged my feet and timed my contractions, jotting down each time he saw me close my eyes and grimace.
He watched as the pain grew more intense. Placed a cool wet washcloth on my forehead and called the doctor.
He watched as I got an epidural. Held my hand when my heart rate dropped and told me about the road trip we would take this summer.
He watched as 10 hours ticked by and doctors and nurses rushed in when the delivery grew complicated. Stood by my side and wiped the hair off my forehead.
He watched as I pushed. Cheered for me, squeezed my hand, and reminded me to breathe.
He watched when our baby boy willed his way into the world. He kissed me. He cried.
And I watched, too.
I watched as he lifted our newborn son and kissed him. I saw his heart open and unconditional love flow out. Watched how he cradled him like a tiny football.
I watched as he fed our baby and changed his diapers when I was in too much pain to do either.
I watched as he slept next to me on a chair in the hospital, never leaving my side. Watched as he learned how to swaddle better than the maternity nurses.
I watched as he jumped out of bed in the middle of the night to feed our son.
And as he changed the baby's clothes so delicately and bundled him up to keep him warm after his bath.
I watched how he spoke and sang to our son and how excited he was to see his first smile.
Watched as he told our baby boy all the wonderful things we'd do with him as he grew up.
In those seconds, minutes, hours, days - and endless nights - I watched my husband become a man. A father.
And so it's time that my husband gets his wish. For his first Father's Day, besides our baby boy, the most precious gift in the world, I'm giving him that cigar that he wanted.
He's earned it.
Happy Father's Day!
Stacy Heenan Biscardi