I used to give lip service on Fathers Day. Cards were sent and thanks was given and the love was spread around as abundantly and efficiently as I could spread it. But I’m not sure I really meant it.
And then I became a Dad and realized that my life was no longer about me anymore and I began to appreciate the sacrifices my Father and Step Father accepted to raise me. They shaped the man and father that I am today.
My buddy offered a simple line of advice before I became a dad. He, having already tread into this new world said, “It’s no longer about us anymore.”
And it’s not.
The time I give to myself or my wife is the time between all the times when my son is my first priority. I remember that line on those rushed days when I look down to the smiling boy holding my hand and see that he’s well fed and bathed and smells good and is comfortable and relaxed and I’ve not eaten, rested or had my own visit to the ‘potty’ since he woke up.
I never realized what these men (along with the corresponding moms in the equation) gave up for me until I started counting the things I have given up for him. And my child is only 4!
I never realized what they gave me until I started seeing myself in my son. More importantly, I never realized what they gave me until I started seeing them in me.
And as parent, this happens more often now than ever before. The way I discipline, counsel and praise all have roots in my own childhood. When I’m complimented on how I interact with my son I think to my own childhood and give a silent thanks to my fathers. When I look at myself in the mirror after a long day of child raising I wonder how they handled it. Good music and a pop top beer?
I also look at myself though and wonder how old my son will be when he sees pictures of me from this era and questions my hairstyle or choice of glasses. Hopefully he'll say fondly, "Yep, that's my dad."
Yep, those are my dads. Happy Fathers Day.