I’m inspired to write about my experiences as a father, this being my day and all. I find that I have a unique perspective on this that I lacked prior to coming into this role as the stepfather of a 6-year-old boy a few years ago (he just turned 10 last month).
Forget the tie, the cologne, and the breakfast in bed. Being a father is a largely thankless job that offers little reward, save the experience of itself. You have to expect that for every act of kindness and selflessness you put forth, it will be rewarded with bad attitudes, whining, and behavior that makes you regret the attempt in the first place.
Having said this, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world.
I mean, let’s cut through the bullshit: kids are selfish, dirty, whiny, and an overall pain in the ass. They can also surprise the hell out of you when you least expect it by being extra polite to a waitress or stranger for no reason whatsoever. They go through seemingly random moments to want to include you in their lives rather than push you away because holding their hand is embarrassing. They run faster, throw balls harder, and score goals more frequently than each year before and it makes you beam with pride that this person you’ve invested so much time, patience, practice, and love into… is actually growing.
I can honestly say that I would love to be my son’s best friend in the world. I also know that’s not possible for two reasons:
1. I know he’d much rather have friends his own age that he can get into trouble with.
2. He doesn’t need me as a friend. He needs me as a father.
So, I am often the disciplinarian. I’m the one that says “no”. I’m the one that’s the big asshole in his eyes, even if he can’t or won’t verbalize it as such. It sucks to be thought of that way by a person that you legitimately are trying to help and nurture, but if I said “yes” to everything… if I tried to be more of a friend than a father, then he would never grow to be a good man. And when there are moments in which the two of us connect by playing catch together or play “kid vs. monster” on the playground, it makes that day all the sweeter.
I didn’t get anything for father’s day… as far as I know, it went mostly forgotten – he’s at his biological dad’s house today, so we’ll see if anything gets brought up tonight. Really, I don’t want anything today. I have enough ties, I don’t wear cologne, and I already ate a bowl of cereal in bed. As I said before, being a father is a largely thankless job and he’s too involved in his own world of imagination and play to consider which particular Sunday this is of which particular month and why it is important.
As long as I can look at him twenty years from now and know that I not only did my best, but that I also raised a good man, then every day of my life will be Father’s Day.