Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Day for Dads



My own father is in Ireland on this Father's Day. When I think of him I remember stretching out on the couch with him, my cheek on his chest, listening to his slow deep breaths and strong steady heartbeat. I remember his hands tying my skates, helping me with my math homework, and paddling a canoe. My dad is a travelling man, and brought us on all kinds of adventures. By the time I was 10 I'd been to every province in Canada but Newfoundland (did that in my twenties), and as an adult, that wanderlust still runs strong. He instilled in us a respect for nature, intense curiosity, a desire to learn and know and SEE. Since his retirement, my dad has hiked to the base camp of Everest, bungee jumped and sky-dove in New Zealand, and reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. He's a hockey coach, a sports fan, a reader of crime novels, a wicked card player, a hobby golfer and fisherman. He's the funniest man I know, with the greatest stories. He is still learning and travelling. I send so much love and gratitude to him for being there for us when we were kids, and for the many kindnesses he bestows to this day.


And today I celebrate my children's Father. That word seems too formal. When Robin gets home from work, everyone goes running, screaming DADDY or DADADADADADA...must be the best moment of his day! Tired mama goes inside to finish (or start!) making dinner, and Daddy takes over, kung-fu fighting, lying on the ground waiting for a kiss from a princess, chasing and screaming and pushing on the swing. This man is patient and gentle and kind. He washes Violet's hair and endures the shrieking that accompanies this task, always with a calming word (I tend to dump the water over her just to get it overwith). He has worked jobs to support us even though he sometimes fantasizes about living on his own and being a musician. He was my rock through labour and birth and postpartum, and when Margot was sick.

Like every father worth his salt, he's doing his best to end unhealthy patterns, to do a bit better than the generations before him. I don't assume that he NEEDS to be here, as many fathers don't hang around when the going gets tough. I am grateful that he has signed on for this formidable task of raising these children. Loving them? That comes easily, and naturally. But sticking around to raise them....that's what makes a father a DADDY. Lucky us. A parent gets paid in little hands nestled in yours, soft wet kisses, the warmth and weight and peace of a child slumbering against your chest, the satisfaction of a "situation" diffused. In that case, this man is rich beyond his dreams. And so are we.

2 comments:

  1. Wow...your dad sounds like an amazing man. I really admire people who embrace their retirement with such gusto! Mountain climbing even...that guy isn't afraid of anything! :)

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  2. I am weeping. At work. Everything you said about Dad is so true, and all about Robin as well. I am blessed with both- for the same father as you have, and for such a wonderful man raising my nieces and nephew. xo

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