I hope we all took at least a few moments this weekend to celebrate, what I believe to be, one of the most influential people in our lives, our fathers. Whether that be your biological father, grandfather, step farther, and so forth. Over the past few years of my life, my view of fatherhood has dramatically changed.
Growing up, my dad was the picturesque small business owner. He looks like a stereotypical hard-working blue-collar older man, callused hands, his skin sun-beaten and his hair (what is left) gray yet he continues to wake up every morning put on his boots and battle through the day. He has always been this way; I often remember him getting home, hanging out with my siblings and I. When we went to bed, he would stay up in our dining room with his construction master and calculator performing take offs for the next prospective house that he was going to build. The following morning, he would be gone before we even opened our eyes working on the job. He honestly never said much about it, at least to us, when we were young, he just kept working. Between my mom and him they just did whatever it took to make it work. My dad is a true definition of what it means to be a great Dad. He was always there for whatever we needed, support, our coach for our Pee-Wee Teams, the coach in our corner wrestling, and most of all, a teacher and a mentor.
What I have learned from the past five years of being a father is; first, you truly do take the best qualities from your parents. I often find myself now, doing the same thing as my dad did when I was a child, I go home and spend time with my kids, and sure enough, when they lay their heads down, it's back to the office or my kitchen table to perform takeoffs just like my dad did. Finally, I understand why my father was this way, and it's because as a father you don't want to miss this time, the time when every single thing you do has an impact on who your children will become. I even find myself saying the same corrections to my youngest son (my Mini-me) that my dad used to tell me. Second, and most of all, I learned why he did it. He did it because he loves us unconditionally (though at sometimes probably could be pretty hard), he did it because he took pride in who we were becoming, he did it because he realized there would come a time where we would need to know what to do when we would have children of our own. I know this now because I feel the same thing myself.
The pride I felt last night when Bo walked across the house unassisted, or maybe the pride I feel when Blaire consistently looks out for her brothers like the mother hen that she is. No one comes out and tells you that when you become a Father, that shortly after your life as you know, it ends, that baby's life ultimately will become yours also. Their goals, their affinities, their successes, and even their struggles also become yours.
So, if you have that father figure, take a minute this week to say thank you. Thank them for supporting and loving you through thick and thin. Also, thank them for their sacrifices, and all they did for you to become who you are today. I often think about how fast my kids are growing up already. Ultimately, they will move out someday and build lives of their own. It is hard to think about what life would be like after that because as I said earlier the day, they were born our lives as fathers changes, and I am sure that change when they leave, won't be as easy. Hopefully, my kids will want to hang out with me and have a relationship as I do with my dad, but only time will tell. Happy Belated Father's Day to all the Dads out there!