What does it mean to be “Dad”?
It means I’m the first face they see in the morning.
I’m the last face they see at night.
I’m the one who wakes up at 3am when they’re thirsty, or sick, or scared.
I’m a talking dog, a sidekick, a spooky ghost, or whatever other part needs playing in my 3 yr. old’s latest adventure
I’m a (terrible) singer of lullabies
I’m a jungle gym, a hobby horse, or whatever other playground equipment they decide on
I’m a paramedic when they bump a head, scratch a knee, or split a lip
I’m a clown when they need a smile
I’m a stern voice when they need a lesson
I’m a knee to bounce on
I’m a shoulder to cry on
I’m a protector (who struggles with the truth that I can’t and shouldn’t protect them from everything)
I’m a caretaker
- I cook (well, I make sandwiches and heat things up in the microwave)
- I clean (noses, butts, clothes, floors, walls, dishes, and yes, even windows)
- I shop (and buy more of the healthy stuff they don’t want then the junk they do)
- I fix things (okay, that’s not quite accurate. I’m useless with tools. I do have the warranty company on speed-dial, though)
I’m a teacher (someone’s got to learn them all that man-stuff)
I’m a student (who learns more from them than they do me)
I’m an advocate for my boy with special needs, doing everything I can to make sure he lives as full and rich a life as he deserves
I’m a role model (God help them)
I’m the guy who’s got Mommy’s back when she needs a well-deserved break (only partly because I drive her just as nuts as the kids do)
I’m a human being making mistakes all the time, praying he learns from them without irreparably screwing his boys up in the process
I’m not a substitute
I’m not a consolation prize
I’m not only there when Mommy can’t be.
I’m whatever my kids need, whenever they need it.
I’m part of one of the oldest and noblest professions on Earth
and when it comes to raising my kids, I’m not just window dressing.
Here’s to all the Dads out there in the trenches, doing their best to be everything their families need them to be.