Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Being a dad is rewarding and joyful and amazing. It's also one of the toughest things I've ever had to do.

Being a dad is being the authoritarian. The disciplinarian. It's laying down the law-and enforcing that law-and all the while praying that your kid doesn't hate you. It's listening to him cry and being firm. And hurting when they do. It's watching them run to their mom, who represents comfort, and doubting that you did the right thing. It's hoping that one day they'll understand.

They probably won't. Not for a long time.

It's wanting to spend time with your kids, and always getting caught up in work or reading the paper your RSS feeds. It's spending the whole day with them, trying to spend some time with your wife in the evenings, and then hearing them say that you never spend any time with them.

It's tough. It sucks sometimes. And half the time you wonder if you're going insane.

But it's also watching them graduate from Kindergarten and trying not to cry. It's watching them learn how to walk and realizing that the whatever shit task you had at work is nowhere near as hard as that.

It's being the hero in their story and conquering the monster-under-the-bed. It's working a 17-hour shift and knowing that your wife had a harder day than you did.

It's hoping your children will do better in life than you did and at the same time secretly hoping you'll be as great as your dad was.

It's laughter and tears. It's happy and sad. It's hugs and kisses. It's a damn country song on repeat. And I wouldn't trade it for the world.

So this is for all the father's out there. If you've ever wondered whether you're doing a good job or not, you are. You just won't find out for a long time. But the journey is going to be one of the best things you'll ever do with your life.

And this is for my sons, who I hope will one day understand as I did. And who I hope won't hate me when I have to be the bad guy. And who will always want 200% of my time. I love you guys.

This is for my grandfathers, who I miss more than words could say.

Being a grandfather is the reward you get for being a dad. It's spoiling your grandkids, and always being the good guy.

This is also for my Dad.

I didn't really understand my Dad until I had kids of my own. Even now, when I talk about my Dad, it's always a capital 'D'. And while I still think I know everything about life, when he talks, there's always a part of my that immediately says, "Yes, Dad".

And this is for all the times when you said someday I'd understand. Because I do. I've understood ever since I had my first son. And I love you for raising me the way you did. And I'm sorry for the times I have be tough on the kids. It's easier being a grandparent, and I hope I make it that far. I'll probably give my son the same stern look you're giving me when he has to be tough on his kids. You probably learned that look from your father.

What I'm saying is, I'm sorry for being such a little shit sometimes when I was a kid. Although, I think we can agree that this is a case where the punishment fits the crime.

I love you, Dad.

Happy Father's Day.