From one Dad to all the others,
If you're like me, you're a great Dad, an awful Dad, an encouraging Dad, an embarrassing Dad, a hilarious Dad, a “dumbbbbbb” Dad, a caring Dad, a busy Dad, a loving Dad…you're basically just a Dad.
Sometimes you cock it up and fail miserably. Sometimes you are the light by which your kiddos see the way. Both times, you're basically just a Dad.
From one Dad to all the others, thanks for being a Dad.
A few years ago, on Father’s Day, I wrote those few sentences and posted them to Facebook and every year since I’ve reposted the same. At the time I remember being in a place where I felt like I was “cocking it up” pretty miserably— constantly wondering if I was being a good Dad to my kiddos.
All of my life thus far has been spent wondering when I will finally grow up and become an “adult” and at 41 I’m pretty sure I’m still not quite there yet. And for a long time, the same applied to being a Dad…wondering when I was going to figure it out and finally become a “good Dad.” But that day it sort of occurred to me that I was a “good Dad” simply because I really wanted to be their Dad.
Becoming a good Dad, I realized that day, wasn’t a goal that one finally reaches, rather it’s being constantly aware that you’re always on the path of understanding that “you’re basically just a Dad.”
You’re there for homework, bloody noses, science projects, snuggling and reading, teaching, learning, cooking dinners, making lunches, traveling to soccer games, grounding, being proud of, being scared for, laughing, crying, exploring, climbing trees, running rivers, scolding, tucking into bed, assigning chores, playing catch—all of it.
Yes, being a Dad evolves from changing diapers, to helping with physics homework, to cradling your first grandchild, but in the end, you’re still basically just a Dad.
And that’s what led to the post. Right then and there, I realized that I was probably doing just fine, so long as I was doing my best to be what my kids needed in that moment. I knew that sometimes I was awesome in their eyes and other times I was the guy they probably didn’t want to be around, but ultimately I was doing just as well as any other Dad, my own father and step-dad included.
So with gratitude, that day and every Father’s Day since, I’ve decided to reach out to all the other Dads and share an insight that so many great Dads have already figured out and just say, “thanks for being a Dad.” What a great thing to be: a Dad.
—John (who is basically just a Dad to Tuesday and Cooper.)