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When Kevin and I got married, we hadn’t seriously discussed having kids. In fact, I wasn’t keen on having kids. I wanted a career first. Who would want to be tied down with kids? Or so I thought.

Six years into our marriage, maternal instincts kicked in and it was high time for me to birth some babies. Kevin, a pretty easy-going guy, bought right into the baby making program!

Liam, our firstborn, was a happy baby — content to eat, sleep and poop. Born in our first season at Pine View Farms and the romantic, parenting phase of our lives, Liam exuded roses, cherubs and dreams.

Then came Adam. We love Adam dearly but he was colicky.  None of us slept much in the first year or two of his life.

I vaguely recall nursing Adam in the middle of the night, then walking the length of our bedroom while he cried until I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other anymore. Then Kevin and I would trade duties — baby for bed. He paced the floor with Adam while I caught a nap. Around 4 a.m., after a brief sleep, Kevin would blearily rise to do chores, drive tractor, butcher chickens for the next 16 hours while I looked after the house, office, shop and kids. Lack of sleep blurred any memories of our early thirties, let me tell you.

The parenting universe is hard. Really hard. Parenting makes you question everything you ever believed in or thought you were good at. This might sound harsh, but from the moment one says “go”, parenting is damage control! What do we really know for sure when it comes to raising these little humans entrusted to us?

When your children are very young, parenting is like being a cop. Parents control what the children do, what they eat, when they go to bed, say “yes” and “no” and delineate right from wrong. It’s relatively easy until the kids can talk back!

When kids are 10 – 12 years old, parents are more like a “coach”, using those teachable moments to impart life skills and nuggets of wisdom to young minds ready and willing to soak it all in.

Parents transition into the “consultant” phase as children move through their teens and adulthood. A consultant only offers advice when asked — which is super difficult when one has so much life experience to impart during these tenuous years!

Kevin and I are mostly consultants now, especially to our 20-year old who forges his own way. Being a consultant feels a bit nebulous and slippery though. How will we know when to graduate from coach consultant with each child? Is our 17-year old kid ready? Are we doing this right? Did we have all the “talks”? Did any of it sink in? Admittedly, some nights while I wait for the boys to come home, I sit and stew about every parenting decision we ever made and pray the kids will turn out OK, in spite of ourselves.

Nevertheless, Kevin and I are consultants now to our children. We find ourselves in the “letting go” phase of life. We take ballroom dance lessons, mix martinis on Wednesdays, and linger over family dinners in nice restaurants with our sons. Who knew this day would come?

I am so very fortunate to share this parenting journey with Kevin who is a wonderful partner to me and father to our sons.

He leads by example.

He is a person of honour. He keeps his word, is fiercely loyal and seeks justice for all.

He is strong, yet willing to be vulnerable, honest, authentic, and admit his shortcomings.

Kevin is a cuddle bear, always ready with a hug and a kiss for me and the boys. Dodging a hug from dad usually turns into a game of tackle for our nearly grown sons. He tells our sons every day that he loves them.

Kevin loves to play. He tells ridiculous dad jokes, sings silly songs and recites rhymes and little ditties ensconced in his brain from goodness knows where — we call these “Kevin-isms”. He makes us laugh even when we don’t feel like it.

Kevin’s cup is always half full while he anticipates the next adventure.

Kevin embodies a strong work ethic, resilience, integrity, empathy, wit, tenderness, faith, commitment and love to our sons. To our kids I say, “Please take the best traits of your dad, be those things, and I think you will be just fine in this life.”

Happy Father’s Day!

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