Not many men smile and say, “I want that, too” when you tell them you’d love to have a large family someday.
That’s exactly what my husband told me on our very first date when we were both in college together. He then went on to tell me all the things he’d love to do with a son someday: go to Steelers football games, be his wrestling coach, teach him how to fish, show him how to knot a tie, teach him to pitch a curve ball, teach him how to drive, etc. It was eye-opening to me, here with this guy I had a huge crush on opening up to me about wanting to be a father. Matthew McClelland, this big, handsome, 6-foot, 2-inch, 220-pound guy, getting all mushy to me about wanting to have a son someday. I remember sitting across the table from him thinking to myself… he’s the one. This is the man I’m supposed to be with and have a family with… this is him.
That was the very beginning on October 28, 1998.
I can look back now with 14 years of marriage under my belt and five children (we did have that big family and he got four sons, not one!) later and say without hesitation… this man was born and meant to be a father.
We have an unconventional type of family setup. My husband is a stay-at-home dad. He’s the one who gets the kids everywhere, sets up the appointments and makes the family calendar of activities/games/practices and lessons. He’s the glue to making our family run smoothly and making sure that everyone is where they’re supposed to be. It’s a role he loves; he honors and he does it effortlessly. Anyone can be a father, but not everyone can be a dad… that force in a child’s life that is full of love and passion and energy and dedication. That’s how my husband is; he’s there, 100 percent of the time, all in.
The births of our children will always be in my memory bank as the best days of my life, but also the days January 17, 2004; January 30, 2005; August 3, 2006; September 30, 2007 and October 31, 2012; those were the days I found out I was expecting a baby. I have to say, the look on my husband’s face with all of these announcements was priceless. There was just pure joy on his face. There’s nothing sweeter, nothing finer, nothing more beautiful than seeing the man you love more than life itself be filled with such a sense of pride and joy.
The connection between my husband and my daughter has been incredible to see over the last two years. After having four sons, my husband… as any man can imagine… has been the envy of men everywhere. Everything has been sports and trains and cars and dinosaurs and superheroes.
And then came along this beautiful little bundle of pink, our Victoria. When the sonographer told me I was expecting a baby girl, I was completely shocked and surprised, but it was my husband’s reaction that forever got me; he whispered “thank you” in my ear and hugged me so tight.
And now… just like it was amazing hearing this man tell me 14 years ago that he wanted a big family someday, it’s the same kind of amazement seeing him host a tea party with our daughter or help her pick out a dress or do her hair in the morning. It’s the moments like this that I see that just leave me breathless and knowing, this is what he was meant to be… Dad. To me, that’s #RealStrength.
Dove Men+Care understands that modern men are embracing their caring roles and it’s absolutely beautiful. Dove Men+Care recognizes that showing care is a true and real sign of a man’s real strength. To me, it’s what makes a man so irresistible.
I love seeing this generation of fathers. It’s just amazing to see men emotional and real and raw when it comes to fatherhood because it’s such an important and special role in their life. The new Dove Men+Care “First Fatherhood Moments” film shows real men finding out they are going to be a dad. I’m not kidding, I couldn’t get through this video without tears streaming down my cheeks!
Seeing the emotion and happiness of these dads-to-be through these personal clips from the lives of real families, it’s just absolutely beautiful. These are the dad moments that everyone hopes to have with a spouse or partner. I’m proud that I have been blessed in my life to have the father of my children embrace fatherhood with this same kind of love, happiness and excitement.
Dove Men+Care is taking care of Dad this year and knows just how important and special it is to be a dad. Starting this Father’s Day, new dads will receive a Dove Men+Care “Dad Care Package” in select hospitals across the country, equipping them to care for themselves and others from the first moment with the goal of reaching 10,000 new dads. The “Dad Care Package” will include the range of Dove Men+Care grooming products as well as a letter from a real dad from Dove Men+Care’s “To All Dads” collection, a product coupon and burp cloth to provide care from the first moment.
And to my husband, the father of my five children, thank you for all you do. Thank you for being the best pancake-maker, the best bubble-bath giver, the best bacon griller, the best funny face maker, the best batting practice coach, the best light bulb changer, the best monster-scare-away-er, the best bike-riding teacher, the best dad ever. I love you mountains high and oceans deep.
Happy Father’s Day!
Share your stories of Dads showing their #RealStrength on social this Father’s Day!
Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored collaboration between SheKnows and Dove+Men Care.