It’s Father’s Day. Today we celebrate our fathers. At least, those of us who had decent fathers do. Some weren’t so lucky. Some had deadbeat dads. Some had abusive dads. Some had neglectful dads. Some had stepdads. Some had foster dads. Some didn’t have a dad at all.
I have many fond childhood memories of my father. Playing sports with him. His love of all things World War 2. Him telling me Spiderman was on the ceiling and then stealing food from my plate when I inevitably looked. The look on his face the day I put Dawn in the dishwasher.
While I do take time on Father’s Day to remember all of the good things about my father and the invaluable things he’s taught me, this holiday has taken on a different meaning to me since I became a father. Being a father has completely warped my life, rearranged my priorities, and given me purpose greater than any I have ever had. It’s unfathomable to think that someone you’ve never met before can turn your life completely on its side in the blink of an eye, but that’s just what happened to me the moment I became a daddy.
I didn’t believe in love at first sight. It seemed such a foolish notion. Then I held my first-born child. It didn’t feel real. It felt like a sort of out-of-body experience. Like I was remotely viewing a first-person account of someone else’s life. I was holding a child, my child, and I was drowning in love. It was flowing with every beat of my heart. It was seeping from my pores. It was streaming from my eyes. This was my child, and I knew in that moment I would never love anyone more than I loved this baby boy.
Then, not even a minute later, I was the father of a second boy. Eleven years later, a third.
I love all three of them more than any other being on the planet. Father’s Day, to me, isn’t just celebrating my father. It’s celebrating being a father.
For over 15 years I have been kissing boo boos, wiping butts, potty training, submitting to outlandish desires, singing and dancing to songs I loathe, watching horrid TV shows, stealing kisses and hugs, tucking in, tickling, telling and listening to bed-time stories, enjoying imaginative whims, cuddling, reading children’s books, and. . . really, I could go on, but for brevity’s sake I won’t. I have loved every minute of these last 15 years. Okay, not every minute, but I’ve enjoyed most of it and I’d not trade a single moment for anything else.
Father’s Day is a great way to recognize and celebrate those men who took their responsibilities to their children seriously and did the very best they could, but for me it’s more of a day to appreciate the fact that I am a father to three wonderful young men, and recognize just how lucky I am to have them in my life. They make me want to be a better person. Hopefully, I do the same for them.
Here’s to being a father.