I’m not really prepared to say what does or doesn’t constitute a good father. I’ve certainly had some time to reflect upon it this last weekend. Having a child alone is not sufficient. And most of us don’t really know what to expect when we have children. Perhaps our adequacy or inadequacy may be measured by the amount of counseling that our children must go through later in life. I’m sure there are a lot of theories but I would imagine that if a book is written by our children once they have completed therapy we’re likely to be in the woefully pathetic category.
We all know that growing up is not always easy and that sometimes the best lessons we learn are the most difficult. Friendships can often be fleeting and the transitions we face in life are confusing. No one really gives any of us a manual on how to be a proper human being. To a certain extent, this is one of our responsibilities as parents. I just hope that I am up to the task – this world just keeps getting more and more complicated.
On Sunday both my wife and my daughter gave me cards, helped fix me breakfast and basically did all that they could so that the day would be something I would really enjoy. For me that inevitably involved reading a book, taking a nap and hanging out with the two of them. When I read the card that my daughter wrote I couldn’t believe that I deserved the incredible things that she wrote. Was that really me she was talking about? True, I do sing to the dog (quite loudly in fact) but I had never thought it would be something she would associate with anything positive. I think it really struck me that something that I do on a very semi-conscious level is something she identifies as being part of who I am to her.
My daughter also commented that I am good at my job. This also raised an eyebrow. We all want to feel valued for what we do during the day but to have Ella specifically mention it in a card was quite surprising to me. Being away from our spouses and our kids during the day requires sacrifice on our part and it was a little humbling for me to see this reflected in a simple and honest sentence from my daughter. She keeps telling me she wants to have her own blog. She’s a good writer and with a little polish I may just consider it.
I know that I am going to screw up a lot of things before Ella reaches the time that she leaves our home. Hopefully she’ll forgive me and I won’t cause too much permanent damage. And, though many parents won’t admit it, I know that my wife and I will be in for our share of heartache along the way too. Life is messy. And complicated. But wonderful nonetheless.
On Saturday night JJ and Ella took me out for dinner at Benihana. It’s not a place that we go often and we had a great time. At the time I didn’t know how they could top that experience the next day. But then I read the cards.