I’ve been a father for 12 years now and they have been some of the most challenging 12 years of my life. I get compliments from people on my parenting, or more precisely, our parenting, since I’m just one member of a very tired team. Honestly, I don’t know what to say other than “thanks?” I mean, I’m dead tired most of the time, run out of patience on a daily basis, make mistakes at least that often, question my choices, and consistently drop plates that I’m trying to desperately keep spinning.
I think that also my difficulty in accepting compliments is that I don’t have a basis of comparison other than looking at what my Dad did for me and my brothers. He had quite the set of challenges of his own. Mike was rocketing off into new things like a evangelist-in-training. Pat was a quiet genius feeling pressures from Mike and me. I was the youngest, desperately seeking attention. Dad balanced the three of us and our needs, whether it was Mike in piano or scouting, Pat in computers or all-state chorus, or me with trumpet and soccer. Of course it was never so simple because we each had so many other interests, some that overlapped and others that didn’t.
And of course the endless dad jokes.
And now at this stage in our relationship, my dad is as supportive as ever of all of us and is a terrific listener.
How am I to judge?
If anything, I think I’m not patient enough, too tired, too frustrated, too quick to judge, and too selfish at times (usually from being too tired).
Today I took Alice to Kimball Farm for a father’s day event sponsored by Mass D.A.D.S. and organized by Jeff Roback. It was a rainy day, but we still went and I met up with my friend Jeremy, who I had worked with about 16 years ago. We’re finally in the same state, we should see each other, right? Alice and I went, Stuart declined, preferring to stay at home with E. Alice loved going on the bumper boats and playing in the arcade. I enjoyed catching up with Jeremy and meeting his family.
And now as the day winds down, all I can think is that if I am a good father, it is because I had a strong model. Thanks, Dad.