Posted by: donrhymer | June 21, 2012

Father’s Day

I hope I’m not breaching some “mancode” or something when I say that… Father’s Day? Most of us Dad’s really aren’t that into it.

Oh sure it’s nice to get a couple of extra hugs and I for one am always in favor of presents, but like Mother’s Day and Valentines Day, it is a manufactured holiday. A day you’re told to show the appropriate appreciation or risk the wrath of your loved ones.

If Father’s Day is supposed to be a day when you feel loved and appreciated by your kids, then for me, Father’s Day happens all year long in those wonderful spontaneous moments. That text message from your daughter in Boston at three o’clock in the afternoon on a random Tuesday that simply says: “I love you Papa.”  That call from your son asking for advice and the even better realization that he is actually listening. Wandering by the storefront window of your daughter’s work, watching her in action and seeing the confidence and security in the way she carries herself.

Those are the moments I’m truly grateful to be a Dad.

I married young; probably too young, so much of those early years of marriage seem a blur. I didn’t know what to do, when to do it or how it should be done. I just blundered my way through. I don’t remember there being endless discussions with my wife about the concept of having kids, there weren’t spirited debates or any weighing of the pros and cons. Which seems strange to me now.

On the other hand, we had endless debates about far less important issues. Buying a couch could take six months before we could come to any sort of agreement. But I think after three years of marriage we just sort of looked at each other and said: “Let’s make a baby. It’s time.” Starting a family is the biggest decision a couple can make and one that couples by and large take as a given. Now I know why.

Because if you really knew what you were getting into? The task of parenting would seem overwhelming. You are bringing an actual human being into the world. If you really, really thought it out… a lot of people would bail. The pressure would be unbelievable. The margin for error slim. The stakes far too high.

But most parents start out feeling they have control over this “thing.” It’s only hard if you don’t have a plan. So, you make one. Establish a loving, nurturing environment, set parameters of behavior, be consistent with their execution… lather, rinse, repeat and twenty-one years later… you walk away having created the child of your dreams. The perfect family.

But it doesn’t work like that, does it? Because despite your best efforts, they become… people. People with strengths and flaws you never factored in. They become the best parts of you and the worst parts of you and other characteristics good and bad you never saw coming.

They are not the children you dreamed they would be.

But by God, they are so much better. They succeed when you’re sure they will fail, they fall on their faces tripping over the smallest things. They surprise you with their kindness and shock you with their cruelty. In time, they become the perfect, flawed people they were meant to be.

My kids are all in their twenties now and I know for a fact that everything I tried to teach them failed, And everything good they learned from me happened when I wasn’t trying. Because that’s the way life works. It’s messy and unpredictable and seldom sticks to your script.

But would you really have it any other way?

So you can choose to celebrate Father’s Day every third Sunday in June if you want, but I think I’ll stick to holding onto my Father’s Day moments and be grateful for them throughout the year. Whenever they may come.

But just for the record, come next June 16th… I still want the presents.

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Responses

  1. Ugh. Father’s Day is every THIRD Sunday in June. This post sucks.

  2. This post is funny, poignant, true, and overall fantastic! But best of all, it’s deadly accurate when it comes to calendars and Father’s Days! Yay!

  3. I don’t think of it often, but when I do, its amazing how much time and effort I spend in my parenting trying to “correct” my own parenting experiences with my Dad (don’t get me wrong, for all his faults I do love him, and he is certainly way more than his faults). I am grateful for those few moments when I sort of hit the sweet spot and think, yeah, that is what I was aiming for. More often, i realize that I’m no where near the mark and much closer to being my Dad. In those instances, i am grateful for grace, for my kids being willing to forgive me and, at least for now, to not see the long-term impact of these failings yet. Kids are amazingly resilient – at least at 11, 9 and 6 as mine are – and for that I am most grateful.

  4. You’re right, if we had any idea what it was going to take to raise our children we’d point our self-centered Pinto in the opposite direction and gun it!!! Thankfully we are just dumb enough (or idealistic enough) to take the plunge because I can’t imagine my life without them. I just hope our kids think enough of me to take care of me when I’m sitting in my wheelchair drooling all over my Sear’s wash ‘n wear plaid pants. Great post!

  5. I LOVE THIS!!!!!!

  6. Mr. Rhymer, you hit the nail on the head !
    My Mother said that every day is Mother’s
    day. No need for a great deal of fuss and
    feathers on one set day! Visit her as much
    possible and say thank you for being a great
    parent! Most of all , I love you Mom.
    I enjoy your blog very much. Your thoughts
    help me with my cancercation . Hang in.

  7. Dear Mr. Rhymer,
    Thank you for your wise thoughts and sharing your journey.
    Jeanie Peterson🌻

  8. Hey Don. Sparklett’s #1 regional assistant Hal again. Have you thought about paternity tests?

  9. this moved me deeply. I am sorry i only became familiar with this blog after Don’s untimely passing. I have shared with many. my father died of cancer. So reading this comes with a lot of emotions…I thank Don for the laughter and, now, a couple of tears


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