Ideally, a Father’s Day post would have gone up yesterday, but it wasn’t until I spent the day celebrating the father of my children that I really knew what I wanted to say. It’s not that I didn’t know he was a great dad; it’s just that sometimes I forget exactly why we are so lucky to have him in our lives. Sometimes the beauty of a thing gets lost in the everydayness of it all.
Through death and divorce, Tim grew up with little “fathering,” so when we had our own kids, he was a unsure about his abilities in that area. Very little had been imprinted on him about what it meant to be a “dad,” so for better or worse, he made most of it up as he went along. Luckily, he’s great at improv.
Yesterday, as we spent time together as a family and the kids took turns saying a few words about what they appreciate about Tim as a dad, I realized how they centered on the same themes.
“You are always there for me.”
“I can talk to you about anything.”
“You make me feel better when I’m sad.”
“You are my best friend.”
I know that the loss of a father affects a child in deep ways and I think, in Tim, many of them remain unhealed and always will. However, out of the absence, Tim has found deep presence. He has found a way to become the man he wished he had been raised by.
He is thoughtful, intentional and gentle, funny, playful and smart, but more than anything, he is present – for practices and games, dinners and bedtimes. He is there for basketball out front and swimming in the back, Saturdays at the beach and Sundays at church. He is there for late night conversations and early morning surf sessions. Success to him will never be about having the most money, but spending the most time. Through experience, he knows that every day is precious, that nothing is guaranteed, and that these relationships are the only things that really matter.
As adults, I think we have to both overcome and live up to the parenting we received. This is true if we ever have children of our own or not. What our parents did well, as mothers, fathers, or human beings, we want to emulate. Where they failed, we have to forgive and if at all possible, do better. It’s the only way we will be free and the only hope we have for making this world a better place.