“Anyone can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad.”
The first time I saw that saying, it was when my dad gave a small framed image to his dad where that quote was below it. I don’t recall how old I was, but I remember wondering what nuance I was missing because it kind of made sense, but didn’t. I was young at the time. But as the years went on, each time I saw that picture in my grandpa’s living room, I got it.
My grandpa was a dad. He played catch with his sons. He worked his ass off, but still had time to coach the little league team. He was proud of his sons. And he loved the fathers they had grown into. While he often worked out of town most of the week, it didn’t make him less engaged with his kids. Even as a grandpa, he showed this same involvement. He bought me my first pair of softball cleats. He taught me how to play catcher. He gave me my own nickname – one that drove my mom and grandma crazy, but one that still makes me smile thinking about it. And he wasn’t just someone who spoiled us, he passed along knowledge. I still quote my grandpa to people.
My own dad did the same thing. He played with his kids. He taught us how to work hard. He went to every game we played. In college, my senior year, he drove 4hrs each way to see me play every home softball game. Seems like a lot to do, but then again, this was the man who would run between fields to make sure he saw both my game and my brother’s game when we both played at the same time. He didn’t just father children – he was a dad. And I teach my own kids many of my dad’s phrases.
It never surprised me that I married someone who was similar. Hell, I wouldn’t have it any other way. G has been the stay at home dad in the summers. He loves the summers for that reason. He reads to them. He takes them to do neat stuff. He naps with the girls. He cooks with the girls. He is a great dad. Just like mine was to me. And his dad was to him.
I think about my male friends in my life, and they are the same way. They are active. They care. They will do what needs to be done to be there for their kids. They don’t simply sit back and let mom do the work – they get their hands dirty and do the job too. They would do anything for their kids – to make sure they are happy, but also successful. So that anything may be to make sure they play their favorite sport, but it also may be smacking them alongside the head when they need it. They are all raising good kids. And they are doing it by being good dads.
So, to all of the dads out there – doing the work to raise your kids – Happy Dad’s Day!