I wanted to post something this morning but..you know, I screwed around on Twitter so much that the day got away from me. But that procrastination did give me time to think about fathers day and all that goes with it.
Last night I was at a family birthday party and I was talking with one of my friends dad. He spoke about that special grandfather feeling. It reminded me of a conversation that I had with one of my friends when my wife was pregnant with our first. My friend already had two boys and he knew better than to try and explain the feeling of fatherhood. “Its different than loving your wife. Different than loving your mom or your dad or your brothers and sisters. It’s bigger, you’ll see.” He stopped there. That was 10 years ago and I’ll never forget his words. I remind him often how right he was.
Fatherhood is fun, its hard, it breaks your heart and fills it at the same time. I’m gonna throw together an impromptu list of great things about fatherhood. Some might not sound great when you first read them, but they are when you look at them from a different angle.
Please allow me the opportunity to come back in the next couple days and add anything I forgot. And I challenge my fellow fathers, mothers, and future fathers and mothers to add to the list.
1) When I walk through the door from work, I whistle. Its my own patented “Dads home” whistle. When my kids were smaller they would come running and greet me with hugs and stories of the day. My 5 year old still runs to greet me and I’ll miss the day when that ends. Mothers don’t announce when they get home like dads do for some reason.
2) The first year after my daughter was born I was working until 11 pm in the evening. I’d come home from work to a quiet house and stand next to her crib for long stretches watching her sleep. A few times I scooped her up and rocked her even though I knew the unwritten rule against rousing a sound sleeping infant.
3) That same year my daughter woke at about 5 am with a shitty diaper. Now, my daughter is the sweetest thing in the world but as a baby she had a knack of shitting North, South, East, and West. Still half asleep, I got her on the table and opened the thing up to see what kind of treasure awaited me. It was the oatmeal variety, you know the one. As I reached for the wipes she decided it was a perfect time to pass gas. I’ll spare you the details but let me say this…her wall, my hand, arm, chest, forehead, and glasses. I had to shower before before going back to bed.
4) The friends whose house we were at last night have a carefree way with their kids that my wife and I marvel at. But then we remember Lillianna. Lillianna was born premature. Dont ask me the weeks, I’m a guy, I don’t remember, but I know it was before that critical lung development stage. That little girl fought for three prayer filled weeks before they lost her. Talk about a tough funeral. Her father carried the small wooden casket from the alter to the hearse after the service. Then at the cemetery he got in the hole, suit and all, and gently placed her where he wanted his beautiful daughter to rest. Parenthood, as fufilling as it can be, sometimes it rips your heart out.
5) I don’t know about your kids, but mine can’t find a thing.
6) I don’t get away with anything anymore. A few years ago I saw my buddy’s wife at the grocery store. I hadn’t seen her in a few years and I gave her a good hug when I saw her. Later, at the dinner table, my daughter asked me, “Dad, who was that girl you were hugging at the store today?” My wife was all ears.
7) I read in the WSJ a couple years ago that the human resource departments of major companies have adopted new policies to deal with “helicopter” parents. Apparently these overzealous parents were calling and wondering why their adult children didn’t get the job, or the raise, or the promotion. To the point that a policy had to adopted to deal with them. Did your parents do that? Did you find gainful employment? Funny how the whole, “Push them out of the nest and let them fly” works.
8) Everyone remembers that moment when your son or daughter notices things and you can no longer walk around the house naked.
I think that’s enough for now. Certainly not a comprehensive list, but a quick list of things that came to mind throughout my fathers day.
Help me fill the list up with your parenting thoughts. Good, bad, sad. They’re all welcome.
And dads, let me know what you got today. I got a card, a bottle of wine, under $10, a pair of cargo shorts from Kohls, my wife had a coupon I’m sure, and 12 K-cups for my Keurig. Perfect!