Just wanted to make sure I was all-inclusive and politically correct with that headline, just in case…
Anyway, for those old-fashioned folks among us (myself included), Happy Father’s Day. Here’s hoping you don’t all get ties, wallets and/or belts and some of you get something more desired or creative. Most of all, hoping that you get lots of love from those who have reason to honor your fathering role…and here’s also hoping you’ve earned (and deserve) that attention.
For me today, it’s been an exercise in being reminded (in a good way, I think) that parenting (father-oriented or mother-oriented) is a life of adapting to what’s happening. In enjoying the ride and appreciating what happens and not always trying to make things happen a certain way.
A few days before this celebratory day, my nearly 7-year-old daughter finally learned to tie her shoes. I knew she would eventually, but it was nice to finally have a night where she engaged enough in the process to pay attention and I was both insistent enough and patient enough to give her the knowledge she needed to actually figure out the intricacies of knotting some laces.
That was my time to feel good for helping to make something happen.
Today was my lesson in letting things happen and finding the joy in whatever comes.
My plan today, rather than taking the day off to be doted upon or pampered or whatever (which I’ve never been good at anyway), was to take my daughter to see The Avengers. I had already seen the movie shortly after it came out, but did so alone. I wanted to see it again and hoped she’d enjoy the superhero spectacle. All well and good for the first hour-and-a-half of the nearly two-and-a-half-hour film. She covered her eyes many times, but peeking through her fingers (she wanted to be able to block her view if any blood appeared on screen, which doesn’t happen much despite the frequent battles). Then she complained of her loose front tooth hurting and wanted me to do something. But not there. She wanted me to pull the tooth out at home. I was miffed at first that we were going to leave an hour before the end of the movie. But you know what? I’d seen it before. Her Barbie movies and such usually top out at 90 minutes anyway and she’d been a trooper for roughly that long.
And more important: It’s what my child wanted and needed.
It didn’t make sense to leave a movie in which she could have let the tooth fall out or be removed afterward, but that’s an adult perspective.
And parenting means sometimes bending to the child’s perspective.
So we came home. And afterward, I realized that on this Father’s Day, I had pulled my first tooth out of my daughter’s mouth (Mom got that duty the first couple times). That’s special timing. Something to treasure.
And then I went outside and played watchman over her and the other kids playing on our block for nearly an hour, before coming back into the house.
She’s happy, and I’ve done what I’m supposed to do (which I don’t always do in my role of dad, but who does?). The day is good, and a dinner paid for by my wife and 20-year-old son is yet to come tonight. Plus, they bought me a pair of cream-colored Converse high-tops that are currently embracing my tootsies.
Not necessarily the day I had planned. But it’s the day I’ve gotten, and probably a better one for that.