Father’s Day 2020 is my first as a father. Celebrating Father’s Day is bittersweet for me as it is the first as a father while also being the first time that I cannot see my father. He has spent the last 6 weeks in hospital after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and no longer being able to live at home. It’s not all doom and gloom as I know he’s receiving the best care possible but due to the current pandemic, I cannot visit him today. He can’t spend the day with his new granddaughter either.
I’ve spent the last couple of days reflecting on what celebrating Father’s Day would be for me this year. I don’t like to be the center of attention for celebrations like my birthday so a day to celebrate being a dad also goes beyond my normal comfort level. Writing that down makes it seem silly and helps to get over it.
In the past, this day meant getting my dad a gift to help make sure he feels loved and highlighted. That was usually an easy thing to do considering he is the ultimate handyman and enjoys any tool purchased at Home Depot. The thing that was lost on me until later in life is my dad really just enjoys spending time with his family. He was never the type of person who really enjoyed gifts. He would much rather be the gift giver and see the smile on the faces of his loved ones.
Reflecting on My Dad
I think the more important part of today is reflecting on what it means to be a dad; the dad that you want to be. Like most people, my dad and I have had our ups and downs over the last 32 years. I’m not the perfect son and he is not the perfect dad. Who are we to try measuring ourselves against some arbitrary grading system?
My father is the best father he can be. He always has been. His goal has always been to provide for his family. He never wants to see anything but smiles on the faces of his sons and will always shield us from anything that could impact us negatively. He has his faults and those are learned. Through the learning I’ve done recently, I’ve come to understand that experiences throughout our childhood come to impact the way we are as adults. My dad didn’t have the easiest upbringing and had to deal with difficult situations with his father. Thankfully for us, he learned from his childhood and decided that he would do everything to protect his children and give them the opportunity to be better than he is.
Becoming a Dad
My dad is made to be a dad. To be the provider. To be the caregiver for his family. His friends called him Moose because he was the biggest one of their group. He looked out for all of his friends through whatever shenanigans they may have gotten into. He transitioned from being the one looking out for his friends to the one looking out for his family and most importantly my mother. That came to include her family that he has always considered his family. They both waited years after getting married to have a child. Medical complications meant they couldn’t have a child of their own. They still waited 8 years on a waiting list to adopt a child. They had the opportunity to adopt me and were surprised that they had my brother naturally only 5 years later. My dad’s life has been complete ever since.
His mission in life has been to be the best father he could ever be. Dad, Mission Accomplished.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a dad. There were just too many unknowns. On my first Father’s Day, I know that it was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. Baby I has completed our little family. She has also brought out something in me that I didn’t know existed. Day after day, I see more of my dad in my actions. I also see similarities in how he adjusted his parenting to improve on his own upbringing.
My dad has taught me that your wife and kids are your world. They are the ones you live for. You live for the smiles on their faces. You are their protector. You live to give your child every opportunity possible so they can be even better than you are. You teach them right from wrong. You include them in your interests and include yourself in theirs. You care for them like the father and partner they need you to be. You are humble enough to know that they will teach you things.
Father’s Day 2020
Today is a hard day. I’m writing this while I wipe away tears. Dad would wipe them for me and tell me to buck up, kiddo. Yes, 32 years old and I’m still kiddo. Or Mowgli. Both nicknames used interchangeably throughout the years. I’m going to do just that, dad. And I’m going to spend the entire day telling Baby I about her grandfather. How much he loves her and wants the best for her. The fact that he knows he’s raised his son to be the father she needs to be. And if he isn’t, then her grandfather will make sure to set him straight. Dad never hesitated to set us straight because he has always wanted the best for us.
I’m also going to call him in the hospital. I’m going to tell him about his granddaughter. The last time I did, he was smiling and so happy. His nurses were ecstatic to see him so happy. I know that will make his day yet again. He has an enormous heart and I know that it has grown a little bigger to make room for his granddaughter. The new love of his life.
Today is a day to celebrate becoming a dad. I’m going to celebrate in the best way that I know. I’m going to spend time talking about my dad because he has made me the man that I am today.