Monday, June 27, 2011

About Being a Dad

"Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad." -Anne Geddes

Last week was Father's Day. I didn't write a traditional post about it. Instead, I wrote one about me and my dad. I wanted to take a step back and reflect on the actual day.

Since my daughter is now four years old, Father's Day is starting to really mean something because she's old enough to be aware that there is a special day for me. And right there is where I have trouble.

While I certainly appreciate the wonderful cards (I actually choked up reading my wife's card because it was so spot on. How does she do that every time?), the gifts, the chocolate chip pancakes, the extra attention and affection, it makes me uncomfortable.

To me, every day is Father's Day because I am a dad every day. It's why I didn't mind planting some shrubs in the front yard and trimming the hedges on Father's Day. We don't get a day off. And while I truly cherish the rare opportunity to sleep in, I actually look forward to waking up early with my daughter on the weekends... most of the time. I work twelve hours a day, including commute. I get to see her for three hours a night during the week... maximum. And those hours are usually jam-packed with obligations like dinner, potty, teeth brushing and bath time.

Don't get me wrong, I find sleep to be a wonderful thing. We used to get along swimmingly. There was a period of time where we were best buds. Now? While I sleep well, I just don't sleep a lot. Fine.

There is something inherently magical about sipping a cup of coffee while sitting on the couch in her play room. She is immersed in her Calico Critters, asking you to help her dress them. Then surprising her by saying "Let's go to Dunkin' Donuts" because it's 7:30am and you've already been awake for an hour and don't know what else to do. And no, you don't have to change out of your Dora nightgown first.

Sure, I teach her the rules and the manners and the traditions and I discipline her and protect her. But I love having fun with her the most.
How she sees me
(apparently with one mutton chop)

What does my daughter think being a dad is all about? Well, she knows I am her ultimate playmate, I'm the guy she can knock around and - for the most part - get away with it. She knows that when I'm serious, she's in trouble.

She even knows what I wear to work. One morning recently I went into her room to kiss her goodbye and she was already awake. So I pounced on the unique opportunity to spend a little time with her. She asked me why I wasn't wearing a tie. And thus began our introductory lesson to casual Friday.

A few days later, she would draw a picture of me for Father's Day at school, wearing a tie. I don't understand why the tie gets such a bad reputation as a gift. I, for one, would have loved a new tie or two since I wear them to work almost every day.

Let's play ball
Alas, I received no tie. Not that I was disappointed. What I did get, was a lot of hugs and kisses, those tear-jerking cards, a new perspective on Father's Day, and a new bocce set.

Love, emotion, lessons, and games. To me, that's what being a dad is all about. That's what I'm all about, I have no idea what I'm doing. But I promise I'm doing the best I can.

I originally wrote this post for Week 1 assignment of Blogger Idol 2011: "Introduce yourself to the voters."

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