Happy Father’s Day, to all of the dads and dads-to-be out there. It’s a tough job, fatherhood. I’m no expert, but I’ve seen it done poorly, and I’ve seen it done brilliantly, and I’ve seen the gamut in between. My feeling is that the position of dad can be a relatively thankless one. You’re expected to work all day, pitch in and care for the kids each night, spend special bonding time with kids on the weekends, take care of cars, yards, household projects, financial situations, and somewhere in there keep a sense of yourself, your marriage, your friends, and the rest of your family. And whenever the kids have an urgent need, or some fantastic news, who do they shout for? In my house, unless I’m not home, it’s usually mommy.
But, as a woman who didn’t live with her father beyond age 8, but who has always considered herself a daddy’s girl, I want to tell you all that your efforts are appreciated, or will be one day. What I remember most about my dad is the quiet moments he spent with me as a young child. I’m sure they weren’t frequent, as he worked full-time, had a commute, had hobbies and friends and all of those household duties to attend to. But I have a vivid memory of sitting on his lap on the front porch while he read the newspaper, and pointing to the few words I could recognize, and his patience and praise at my early reading abilities. In the end, I think it’s those little moments that endure the longest.
If, at the end of the day, you take a few minutes to cuddle and read with your kids, throw in a few solid tickle sessions each weekend, let the munchkins “help” you mow the lawn here and there, it all adds up. Maybe not in the obvious “I just fell down and only mommy can give me magic kisses to fix it” way that I get my appreciation, but when your child is in his/her thirties, and someone says “father,” those tender images of time you spent alone with them are the ones that will float to the surface.