Happy Father’s Day Dad, and to all the fathers out there.
Last year I wrote about how I felt the gift of one’s time was the most valuable gift a child could give a father. This feels truer now, and with each year that passes.
As children grow into teenagers and young adults, their time is shared with more people. The high school friends, the dating which has now begun, the increased demands of school work, and employment. You know that the relationship, the love is still there, but it changes. It has to. That’s growth.
There is less time for dad; and that’s okay. I don’t ask for all the time, only some; and the quality of the time is more important than the quantity. This is the cribbage games and the walks I am always excited to share – to my children, the invite to accompany me is open, always. Perhaps even more important though are the smaller moments – the laughs over errant flatulence, or from those hilarious scares when I get you as you round a corner or walk in to the house.
These moments don’t have to be often. They can just never not be. These little moments are the best parts of life. Sure, the bigger shared experiences are great too, like Disney World for example, but these fade into memory. The all-important smaller moments become harder to create as a child’s life becomes theirs to own, and navigate. If however, these little laughs and common threads remain consistent moments throughout life, then there is always a little of what was, and what is (the past and the present; the future is not ours to control or fret on). These moments I think are what help bind child and parent, but also what keeps us parents child-like; they act as a glue for the familial relationship.
My favourite moments remain these family ones. I wrote previously about my life’s one takeaway. At that time I wasn’t able to declare what that one moment would be that defines for me my takeaway from life. I was able to offer only the example that it was when witnessing my children challenge themselves and overcome some fear or doubt. Now, I will add to that example these little moments, these laughs shared with my kids. I am still unable to identify that one moment that Douglas Coupland asks us to consider, which defines what it’s like to be alive on this planet. It is clear to me now though, as it was before, that my one takeaway, that one moment, is most likely tied to being a father.
Sure, I lose myself in other moments, like when an hours-long hike exposes a magnificent vista, or when I’m on stage playing my acoustic guitar or rocking with the band. These moments are always made better though, when shared with family. I know we, each of us, has our own idea of how best to spend our time. Mine is not the same as my wife’s nor my children’s. When we give our time to each other though, there is no better gift. That’s my opinion anyway.
This year I asked that my wife and kids join me for a road trip to view the stars in a dark sky viewing area near Ottawa. It is a new moon this father’s day and something I’ve been wanting to do for some time. I am, pardon the cheesy pun here, over the moon, that my family has agreed to join me this evening. It’s a simple thing really; to share a car ride, sit under the stars, and bask in the most valuable gift we can, each of us, give another; our time.
Of course, I would be remiss if I did not thank my wife. For your time, and the healthy daughters I am so lucky and happy to have in my life, thank you. I love you.
Happy Father’s Day.