FOR YEARS ON FATHER’S DAY I WOULD REPUBLISH AN OLD POST I WROTE ABOUT MY DAD.
I liked it, which was a valid reason to be sure — but the real reason was I was just lazy, and re-posting old stuff to make it seem like new was a pretty easy way to keep the content flowing.
Even I got bored of that, however. So bored, in fact, that last year I didn’t post anything at all.
But today, although I’m yet again reposting a blast from the Below the Fold past, I’m sharing this piece because it reminds me that Father’s Day is not about me, it’s not about dads, it’s not even about lawnmowers or power tools or barbecues (and in my case, most definitely not.)
Mother’s Day is All About Mom, and rightfully so. But Father’s Day is about our kids — and in my case, about the daughter who reminds me, without knowing she reminds me, that good only exists in the world because good people exist. And right now, we could use a few more good people.
Happy Father’s Day, Alex.
“THE GOOD PART”
(originally published August 28, 2016)
FOR NINE MONTHS YOU PREPARED FOR “THE MOMENT.”
The moment when you would hold your newborn child for the first time. The moment when you would hear her heartbeat and marvel at her innocence.
The moment when an eternity of questions, uncertainties and challenges would be erased with one tiny smile.
Finally the moment arrived.
Now it was time for the good part.
But then you took the baby home and she cried all night. You didn’t sleep for months and diaper changes became as regular as breathing.
This wasn’t the idyllic life you had imagined. Not even close.
Eventually she slept soundly and the crying subsided. She took her first steps.
Now it was going to be okay.
Now it was time for the good part.
But then the wonders of walking turned into the terrible twos and the toddler years. There were illnesses and tantrums, worries and regrets.
No one prepared you for this. No one could.
The good part would have to wait.
Pre-school was going to be the turning point. This was the good part for sure, the beginning of socialization and formal education – the discovery of “self” that would be your child’s greatest adventure.
But there were fears and setbacks. And it didn’t get any better with elementary school or middle school, and definitely not with high school.
There were cool kids and mean girls, awkwardness and anxiety. There was more pressure than you ever had to endure, more danger in the world than you could have ever imagined.
Day after week after month after year you waited. The good part was coming, you told yourself. The good part was just around the corner.
And then, without warning, you are standing in a college dorm on the other side of the country saying goodbye.
Was this it? Was this finally the good part?
Or was the good part the moment you held your newborn child for the first time. The moment you heard her heartbeat and marveled at her innocence.
Was it the moment when the baby cried all night and so did you, because you were now someone’s mom or dad. Was it the sleepless nights and diaper changes when you realized life would never again be this pure, this simple or this perfect.
Could it have been the times when she was sick and you sat with her for hours? Could it have been during the tantrums that started off so seriously but ended with you bursting with laughter?
Did it happen during her school years, when your daughter became her own person and you realized she was stronger, smarter and more determined that you ever were? Was it when she turned that anxiety into resolve and those fears into focus?
I hope so; for your sake I hope all of those things are true.
Don’t wait for the moment when you are standing in a college dorm on the other side of the country saying goodbye.
Don’t wait until the realization hits you with the unforgiving force of a million memories unleashed at once. The realization that it was all the good part. Her entire life.
Every last damn moment of it.
And now the moment has come to let her go – yes, this is the good part, too. In fact, this is the best part of all.
Because she is not really leaving. She won’t really be gone.
She is not moving out.
She is just moving on.