Male Bonding, Without Beer

I love my kids. I try to show it daily through actions like cooking for them, coming up with arts and crafts projects to do with them, reorganizing their bedroom, hugging and kissing them constantly.

Those are my love languages: Doing for, Affection, Care taking

And it works – I know my kids know that I love them more than Kanye loves himself. They show it by reciprocating with constant hugs and kisses, calling my name when they get hurt and unfolding every single newly folded t-shirt in their dresser.  (I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming they are confused about how to demonstrate their love in that area.)

So I am always intrigued (I mean this genuinely – like, in my cultural anthropology major way – not obnoxiously) when I watch them with their daddy.  They wrestle, aggressively tickle, build block cities.  My husband puts together their furniture, takes them on errands to buy tools, gladly makes unscheduled stops at any carnival they happen to pass by when he sees wide, excited eyes in the backseat.  When he looks up The Shins on the computer and tells Carlitos that the singer is also in Broken Bells (Carlitos’ favorite band), Carlitos comes right over and nestles under my husband’s arm…then stays there as they start listening to a This American Life story on NPR about the Euro.

They bond on almost entirely different levels, in almost entirely different ways, with their daddy than they do with their mommy.

And they feel just as loved.

Carlitos asked his daddy if there was any left over Miso soup from dinner last night.  When my husband said there was because he didn’t have any and got up to go warm it up for Carlitos, Carlitos leaned into me and said, “Daddy left me all of the soup last night because he knew that I love that soup and I might want it today for my afternoon snack.”

I smirked at my husband when Carlitos wasn’t looking, thinking he would think it was just as cute that Carlitos made up his own interpretation about why there was soup left.  I am the center of the universe, says the child. Right?

Instead, his daddy quietly said, “You know me well, Carlitos.”

And I know he meant it.

It is almost unbearably wonderful to watch my husband and his sons speak love languages with each other that I often don’t understand.  It is about them and between them and I don’t really have any role or any part in it.

But I love it… I love their love.

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22 Responses to Male Bonding, Without Beer

  1. Julie says:


  2. Monica says:

    Oh. Oh how sweet 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. Laura says:

    Love this! It totally makes me think of all the fun ways that my dad and I would hang out when I was a little girl. Dads get a pretty bad rap a lot of time in our culture, so it’s so nice to see some kudos given to a good dad!

  4. Julie and Monica – I’m going to take this unscientific data to conclude that my post was officially…sweet. 😉

  5. Laura- It’s so true: Dads=Bad rap. But my husband honestly puts an enormous amount of effort into fatherhood and I love seeing that he innately knows how to connect with our kids and share love with them in ways that are SO different and yet equally as strong as my connections with them. It’s pretty awesome.

  6. Great post, Annie. And now I’m all emotional.

  7. Jess Wilson says:

    Oh, Annie! What a great post. Watching kids and their daddies is just about the greatest thing and you captured that so well here. Also, I cannot wait until Leah is ready to listen to NPR with me…or discuss the Euro. (your other friends may think I’m joking…)

  8. Erin- Thanks. It made me emotional, too. (watching my guys)

  9. Jess – I know you are not joking about NPR and the Euro! When I carpooled with 2 other SEED teachers NPR was ALWAYS on the radio…unless I was driving, of course. 😉

    You must be loving these first few months with Leah and watching your husband with her. 🙂

  10. John says:

    I was once a father of a 2 year old, and, later, of a 4 year old. It sounds to me like your husband is in the 1%. Great post.

  11. Yes, yes…we are a family of 1% ers. Not in THAT way, though, so don’t start camping out here or anything, OWS.
    I’m sure you are in the 1% of dads, too. 🙂

  12. Anne says:

    Annie’s blog is a real treat. It is so interesting listening in and watching our kids raise their kids!

  13. Nichola says:

    That was so beautiful! Such a wonderful expression of your love for your children and husband. Your appreciation and recognition of their special bonds is such a gift to your whole family!

  14. It must be a wonderful/strange thing. I try to imagine my boys all grown up and it just makes me kind of sad. I’m sure someday it will make me only happy and proud, instead of sad that they are grown up!

  15. Thank you, Nichola. YOU are a gift of a friend. 🙂 (and wife, sister and daughter) xo

  16. Katy says:

    So true and so awesome.

  17. I know you know this! You chose a great dad for your kids, too! 🙂

  18. Denise Grassart says:

    It’s not often that I take the time to read a blog, but this one always grabs my attention. I guess it brings me back to my own days as a Mom of little ones. Please keep these coming – I love your style, your wit, and most of all, your honesty.

  19. marcia fitzgerald says:

    Carlitos and Xavi are so lucky to be part of such a caring and loving family!

  20. Denise – What huge compliments! Thank you. Truly, that means a lot.

  21. Marcia – Thank you. We are far from perfect, but we DO care about them and love them! 🙂

  22. […] have actually written recently about my observations of the bond between my husband and his boys.  About what kind of father my kids have.  About the love I see the three of them have for each […]

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