Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Father's Gift

Fathers get a bit of a bum rap these days, right? I mean, look at any sitcom and you’ll find a lovable but bumbling dad, somehow managing to barrel through family life despite seeming somewhat, well, dim. Meanwhile, the mom is managing the household and holding down her full time job, picking up after the kids and, of course, cleaning up the dad’s mistakes all within the allotted 22 minutes.

What? I’m not saying it doesn’t represent reality.

But seriously, it’s generally the case that the mom knows just exactly how many teaspoons of Tylenol to give to a sick child (or, in the case of a certain set of twins, which child only responds to Tylenol and which one only responds to Motrin – guess right in the comments and you might win a prize). The mom is more likely the one who will hire the babysitter, fill out the school applications, and plan the birthday party (or RSVP as the case may be). We are the organizers, the task masters, the list keepers and underwear washers.

So what then is the Father’s gift? You’ll find it in the quiet moments. It’s not so visible; not so full of sighs and responsibility. It’s the patience in the voice of a man who is showing his son how to string fishing line and attach a bobber. It’s the look of awe that crosses his face when his son shows him the caterpillar, the moth, or the june bug that he found. It is heard at night through the crack in the door as he tells stories to his children in the dark. It is in the unconventional approach whether it is watching planes move across the sky instead of telling a bedtime story or taking a late night stroll to calm an upset babe. Dads care about experiences, memories, journeys – they don’t care if the shirt matches the pants or that the child needs a haircut. They let the kids stain the cabinet even if it means the color is uneven. They let the kids drive the boat because it’s in the middle of an empty lake and the kids will never forget how big they felt. They take the kids camping where they get to stoke the fire and feel like big kids as they look at the stars and tell stories around the campfire. Theirs is a unique gift – not so celebrated, but no less important.

On this Father’s day, I am so grateful to have a partner who ignores my worried looks and lets the kids drive the boat, who calmly and patiently packs up his fishing gear after having his line in for only 15 minutes, who encourages me to go away for a weekend, who quietly adds favorite movies to our tivo just to surprise me and the boys, who loves watching the basketball game with his sons cheering right along with him, who can’t wait for soccer games and t-ball, who is honestly the most wonderful man I could have chosen.

Happy Father’s Day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your writers block is gone and your gift is back in place.. You bring tears to my eyes as you describe a fathers gift...
Thank you for being you And
Happy Fathers to Tom!!