Hello! That was Father’s day around here as the day drew to a close. I kept telling Iliana to give me a nice expression as in a few years she might ask me, why did I make that face? As you can see, that didn’t really matter to her. The only way I got Emerson to sit there for a few moments was to give him one of the controls for the TV.
I’ve been thinking about this post for a few days now, and what fathers mean, and what I would say about it. Since I only post once a week, I get the luxury to contemplate for a bit what I’ll write about. I’m finding all sorts of ideas and some insights come to me. This week, as I thought about Father’s day, my father, Eric’s father, and the principle of fatherhood in general, I was struck by a few things.
This business of fatherhood and parenting in general, is a hard business. It’s not easy to parent. It’s not straightforward, it’s curvy, and it always zig zags and throws you a curve ball when you least expect it. You have to be on your feet and think on your feet most of the time. You have to be patient and kind and understanding. You have to be kind of Buddha-like, a kind of zen papa, able to go with the hits that work throws at you and then transition into home life and still maintain your cool. And on the weekends, you have to put in overtime, as your wife gets away from the house, you have to put in long hours, not having built up your stamina for it throughout the week, and you have to hope that you can keep up with those children that have changed and grown, leaps and bounds, throughout just that one week, since the last weekend. Because these children, they grow fast, they learn how to do things you couldn’t have guessed from your time with them the weekend before. They can do monkey bars and go down slides, and climb up playgrounds and walk to the edge, not knowing that they might fall. And you have to be strong, willing to let them venture out and try things, help them stay confident, yet guide them so they don’t get too hurt. And if they do get hurt, you have to be brave for them, and fix them up, blot their tears (or blood!) and be gentle on yourself for not having prevented that particular fall, or injury, or insult. You have to get over things quick, so that you can be present with them, and love them, and let them know you are there for them. This business of parenting, boy, it’s not an easy one.
SO NOW, with all that said, at the risk of laying accolades on the man that I married and hoped would be a father one day, and who I am now in the thick of it with…I will say that he’s doing a darn good job at something he claims to not know much about, and in truth had almost no experience with before his own children. He’s become a kind of Zen Papa, or at least that’s what we’re calling him. And in the calling him of that, it brings forth all those zen qualities that are so necessary to be a truly good papa (and it helps me attempt the equivalent Zen Mama, or at least I try). Thank goodness for Buddha, for writings by Thich Nhat Hanh, and for a husband who is willing to read them and grow from them, to take them in and make them his own.
Happy Father’s Day for a day (and job) well done!