Yesterday was Father’s Day, and I found myself all day staring at my kids and admiring how awesome they really are. I constantly ask how I got so lucky as to have this wonderful family full of people who love me so well.
Don’t get me wrong, just because I think my kids are awesome, doesn’t mean they’re perfect. We have our fair share of breakdowns, lost patience, whining, crying, and hitting and kicking. Raising kids is most definitely the hardest journey I’ve ever embarked on.
Bob Goff tweeted yesterday, “I think a father’s job is to get down on both knees, lean over his children’s lives and whisper, ‘Where do you want to go?'” I couldn’t agree more. Being a dad means life is no longer about what I want. It’s for them. It’s all for them.
Glennon Doyle Melton writes in her wonderful book, “The only meaningful thing we can offer one another is love.” Nothing else matters, except a good apple fritter, those are important, too. Love comes in many forms. It comes in the way we look each other in the eyes. Love comes when we listen, really listen to what our kids are saying to us. Love comes in the encouragement we offer our children. Love comes in all the adventures, both big and small, we share together. Love comes from opening our hearts to our kids and letting them know we accept them, love them, and cherish them, no matter what choices they make.
And, yet, I know all this, but I still lose my patience. I should be cherishing the bed time routine, the snuggling, recapping the day, talking about all the things we’re grateful for in our lives. Those times are important. But, it’s hard to keep my cool when they come downstairs for the 5th time in 10 minutes at 10 pm when we put them in bed at 8. It’s hard to stay calm and “use my words” when Lia is raging on Max and screaming at the top of her lungs.
That’s the beauty of life, though. And being a dad. I get to forgive myself. I have to. Because, we all make mistakes, we all say things we don’t mean. We all lose our cool. We’re human. We are not and never will be perfect. So, teaching my kids about forgiveness, offering meaningful apologies, and hugging them. They know. They learn life’s lessons by watching what we do.
So, I gauge my days as a dad on a few things. Did I make my kids laugh today? Did we do something meaningful together? Did we say yes to adventure? Did I give my kids the love they deserve? Did I let my kids know they are awesome, wonderful gifts to this world and I couldn’t possibly be happier or wish for them to be any different than they are?
If I do those things, then I’m doing my job as a father. I know my kids will change the world. I just need to step back, love them, and let them.
Now enjoy this wonderful image of us making our grumpy faces. Guess which one was REALLY grumpy?