Reflections on Father's Day
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My kids are sure to have many names for me as they get older. But, for now, it is Daddy or Dad, likely the most PG versions I’ll get. I currently live in a world where the meanest things my kids tell me are, "Go away!" courtesy of my 3.5-year-old son, and, "No," when I ask my 1.5-year-old daughter if she wants Daddy to pick her up.
Today on Father's Day I've been reflecting on the idea that I'm currently right in the middle of what has been called the "peak experience" of parenting.
You have little kids for four years. And if you miss it, it's done. That's it. So, you gotta know that. It's, you know, lots of things in life, you don't get to do more than once. Now, obviously you can have more than one child, but all I'm saying is, that period between zero and four, zero and five, there's something about it that's really, it's like a peak experience in life. It isn't much of your life. You might think of it as a long time. But it's not that long. Four years goes by so fast, you can't believe it. And if you miss it, it's gone. So you miss it at your peril, and you don't get it back.
Those of you who have spent time with parenting content on Instagram and Tik Tok will undoubtedly recognize the narration as a familiar voiceover on top of videos of kids accompanied by heartwarming music in the background. And while I don't agree with Jordan Peterson and his politics, the sentiment expressed in this clip resonates with me.
Just like with my Dad, my relationship with my kids will undoubtedly change over time. As we all age, their worlds will no longer be under my curation. This is a special time in my life as a Dad where I have an outsized influence on their lives, the chance to lay as solid a foundation as possible. And while my influence on their lives will persist, it will certainly decrease. But, I realize, the meaning of "Dad" will continue to magnify.
"Dad." So much packed into a simple, three-letter word. Kids can convey endless messages through a slight change in intonation, a quick raising or lowering of the voice. "Dad" is never neutral. It drips with emotion. It is a cry for help, a shout of joy, a whisper of fear, or an act of defiance. It is a call. A summons.
Dad is a title. A responsibility. A job that never seems to get easier, just different. Dad is a guide and a mentor. Both a friend and a disciplinarian. At his best, Dad is a shape-shifter who understands what role needs to be played and can play multiple at once. And who, when at his wit's end, doesn't want to be Dad at all.
But most of all, being "Dad" is a privilege.
Happy Father's Day to my fellow Dads out there!
Quote I’m thinking about: “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived...this is to have succeeded.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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