Fathers’ Day was yesterday. My Dad was somewhere in Oklahoma, not answering his cell phone. (Check your messages, Dad.)
As with Mothers’ Day, it’s hard to expect to have adequate recognition for a year’s worth of parenting crammed into a single day. What Fathers’ Day plans can live up to those expectations? I tried to think of something I wanted to do that sounded like a Special Fathers’ Day Event, but really I didn’t want to do much more than stick close to home and hang out with the wife and kids. Heidi made the best breakfast in recent memory, we grilled steaks, we went to the pool, we played “Dance Dance Revolution.” It was a low key kind of Fathers’ Day. We just hung out together. But that’s exactly what I like to do.
I have decided that Being There is 90% of fatherhood. In mind, spirit, and body. Being There. My biggest test of Being There is when I put my kids to bed at night. We read books, sing a few songs, say prayers, and lights out. When I am in my right mind, I don’t rush through. I try to relish those moments.
But mind you, bedtime is right at the boundary between Kid Time and Adult Time. Freedom and relaxation beckon. So it is tempting to just shuffle the kiddies into bed with a minimal interaction. But Being There is what I owe my kids. Being There is what will ultimately save me as a human being. So instead of rushing though bedtime, on my good days, I take my time. Or give my time. Whichever.
I don’t know where I’d be without my wife and kids. Without them I cannot be assured that I wouldn’t be self-absorbed 24/7. Maybe without a family to live with, for, and in I would find something else to devote my life to, somethign to help me grow up. Fatherhood and marriage are saving my life. A guy should have to pay admission for such a thing. Instead all I have to do is just show up. Such a deal.