You have to dispatch sage advice. Like when you go to the calabash in Myrtle Beach, focus on the crab legs and avoid all the carbs.
The door to the garage was stuck, swollen from the humidity, and I gave it an extra oomph with my shoulder to get it open. And then I bumped it hard with my hip to close it. My 3-year-old daughter commented I should fix it.
"Because that's your job," my 6-year-old chimed in.
When I was little, that's what I thought the job of a dad was, too. I just assumed when your child was born, they gave you a screw organizer and a tool belt before you left the hospital.
I tried to explain how the house expands and shrinks depending on the time of year; and the door is old. They stared at me blankly.
"But you fixed everything," she replied. "You like to do it."
She's right, I do. If there's a how-to video on YouTube, I'm all about it. That wasn't always the case, but life changes you. I don't think I ever made my bed until I got married. Then one day, I woke up and made the bed. Now, I do it every morning.
And when I became a father, I never asked what exactly my role would be. I assumed, correctly, that I would find out real quick. I like to joke my wife does all the work, I just drive the Kia. But that is more from guilt than an accurate summation of my duties. Our daughters lean on my wife for everything. So much so, I answer to the call of "mom" a number of times a day just to help out with the workload.
If someone were to ask me what the role of a father is, I'd tell them it's pretty simple. You have to do and be everything all the time. You have to take an active role in your children's lives. You have to teach them a lot, like manners and how to hit a curveball. You have to protect them from the bullies of the world, like a bee flying too close. And you have to teach them how to defend themselves and others.
You have to dispatch sage advice. Like when you go to the calabash in Myrtle Beach, focus on the crab legs and avoid all the carbs. "That is, if you want to get the best bang for your buck," I'd say while pulling up my white belt.
And you have to fix a lot of stuff, from egos to injuries to broken things.
Of course, early on I learned you can't fix everything. And that's the hardest part.
In those moments, my father would tell me, "do your best, and it'll all work out." And he's right, of course.
And you realize your kids won't really appreciate what it is you do as a parent until they are grown and have kids of their own. Now, every time I see my dad, I offer him a place to sit.
It's strange how easy and satisfying something so demanding can be. But I would not trade it for anything.
Happy Father's Day, dad.
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On Twitter: @DaveManley