I asked my husband a personal question right before he was heading to bed the other night. I asked him to write a "little something" about how it feels to be a Dad today in such weird political times. He rolled his eyes, of course. But then he got behind the laptop and just started typing away. What he had to say really hit me in the gut, in a most perfect way. I'm opening this to you all today because being a Dad has its own set of "feels" that aren't often talked about in the way us Moms share together. I hope you find it to be as powerful and encouraging as I do!
Happy Father's Day to all the Dads, Grandpas, Uncles, Brothers, Cousins and all the amazing role models out there.
What does it mean to be a Dad, right now, in this moment, in 2017?
A lot of times, it means being in awe. In awe of my wife, who spends much more time with our daughter than I do, and as a result has to deal with way more of the hard stuff (tantrums, potty training, throwing food, days without naps, etc. etc. etc.) than I do. In awe of my daughter, who is somehow 2 years old going on 20, and is already capable of making me laugh, cry, panic, rejoice, THINK and FEEL more than anyone who has only been around for that short of a time possibly should be. And in awe of myself, because after roughly 34 years of thinking only about that same self, that person seems like such a distant memory I can hardly remember what being him was ever even like. It is constantly surprising and amazing to hear my daughter call me “Daddy” and think to myself, “That’s me.” No matter what year it is, that will always be astonishing to me in the best way possible.
And yet, it isn’t just any year. And these do not seem to be ordinary times. So being a Dad right now, in this moment, in 2017, makes me think about what we are doing- to ourselves, to our future, to the planet- and wonder how I can somehow make a difference in whatever small way I can. Because like any parent, I want more for my daughter than I was given, which was quite a lot. And on a lot of days it seems like we are leaving our kids less and less.
So I think more than anything being a Dad right now means trying to create as much meaning as I can, in little ways, every day. It means singing the songs from “Moana” out loud in the car with my daughter for the hundredth time like I’m auditioning to actually be in the movie. It means looking up new recipes online to try and figure out how to sneak some more greens into her lunches and dinners, even though I know she is not going to eat zucchini in any form, ever. It means letting her figure out where the puzzle pieces go instead of showing her myself, even though she gets frustrated. A good friend of mine who also happens to be a great Dad once told me, “Like anything that’s worthwhile, it’s hard.” But hopefully all those little things add up and make a big difference someday.
Because I think a good Dad, in any moment and any year, ultimately shows their child through example and practice that they can be anything. So what does it mean to be a Dad, right now, in this moment, in 2017?
It means everything.