I have to admit that I feel rather blessed enough with an amazing wife and two fantastic children that most days feel like Father’s Day to me. Our road trip across this great country of our’s was filled with so many wonderful memories that I can’t help but feel incredibly happy with my lot in life.
For the actual celebration of Father’s Day, my family went up to visit with my father-in-law, who happens to live pretty darn close to the middle of nowhere. It was a weekend of no internet, no phones, and as much time outside as the swarms of mosquitos would allow. We spent Father’s Day Eve on a boat, relaxingly pulling in bluegill after bluegill, since my father-in-law is apparently the king of finding spawning locations for the tasty fishies. We ended up hauling in over 50 fish in a matter of a couple hours, only hindered in our abilities by a couple of kids who wanted to help out as much as possible, as well as, you know, eat and sleep and whatever.
And as if that moment of 3 generations experiencing an age-old way of celebrating fatherhood wasn’t enough, we returned to his cabin for naptime, in which I went down to the hidden fishing hole on his property to catch a few more fish for the morning’s breakfast. A quiet little spot where one can collect his/her thoughts and also find respite from the bugs. . . it’s that good of a spot.
As I sat there, all alone in the middle of the woods, fish jumping at my feet, hooking yet another worm onto my line before beginning the next battle for supremacy against the little buggers, I found myself thinking about where I would be if I were not a father.
It’s not an easy hypothetical to answer. I would quite possibly still be working the same job, would still probably be living in the same house (although many of the renovations we’ve been slowly working on would probably be much closer to completion), still married to the same woman that I adore. In many ways my life would be quite similar, and probably quite simpler. But that’s the part of the picture I can’t quite envision. I haven’t even been a father for 4 years yet, but I have a very difficult time picturing life without my little minions. Sure, I’d probably still have somewhat of a social life, and would probably have more money in my pocket, but the rut that can come from such a life seems to be too easily gained. With my children in my life, every day is a new adventure, both for them and for me. Just yesterday I took my kids out to wash the car, something that both of them enjoyed profusely, making the task that much more enjoyable for me. A task so mundane and simple suddenly became a source of joy and fun, simply because of two little runts slowing me down by getting in the way every chance they had.
I love my family and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. So, when my wife asks me what I want for Father’s Day, or what I want to do, I have a very difficult time answering, because all I really want to do is to continue being a father and a husband and having the adventures that this life allows.
Very often as I experience life with my little ones do I think back to my own childhood, my own father. I remember lying in the same bed as him, enjoying the cuddles, but desperately needing to get away from his hot breath 🙂 I remember washing the cars with my parents and having that same amount of fun slopping suds all over the ground. I remember being taken on long road trips, sitting awake eagerly to see what the day would bring as the road went on and on ahead of us, happy to be allowed a spot in the navigator’s chair to chat with either parent as we drove. I remember so many happy experiences and find myself all too eager to experience them again through my children’s eyes, hoping that they find the same joy I did when I was in their position. Happy to see those same experiences play out to their grateful smiles.
Being a father, in many ways, is like being a child all over again, except now you’re allowed to get your own way. Father’s Day is, of course, a moment intended for saying thanks to our fathers, and I definitely want to do that to my own. However, I feel selfish in accepting any thanks given to me for being a father, because I feel like I’m having too much fun for it to be something I’m being thanked for.
And plus. . . they bought me stickers! (And yes. . . these are the cars after having been cleaned yesterday, stupid pollen!)