When I married Whit, I spent some time wondering what kind of husband he’d be. I imagined our married life together; I wondered if he’d get mad if I spent $300 on a pair of shoes (yes) or drank wine with my girlfriends in the middle of the day (no). I never wondered what kind of father he’d be.
Neither Whit nor I had a close relationship with our dad. Whit became close to his stepfather a little later in life, so it’s safe to say he didn’t have exactly the perfect paternal role model during his formative years.
So I should have worried.
But then we had kids.
And they hit the daddy jackpot.
So, kids, when you’re older and reading this, let me give you a little primer on what dads do...based, of course, on what your own dad does.
Dads like breakfast. They take you out to diners and for bagels or croissants. They don’t even notice if you’re missing a food group.
Dads teach you how to play golf and throw the baseball on target and trap the soccer ball.
Dads lie down with you every single night and let you talk about your day, even when it’s well past your bedtime.
Dads give giant bear hugs and gentle kisses and always have a lap ready when there aren’t enough chairs…and sometimes when there are plenty.
Dads play snapping turtle and let you shriek as loudly as you want.
Dads let you eat ice cream before dinner, skip church and ride in the front seat.
Dads coach your teams. And if they’re not coaching, they’re sitting at every game cheering you on.
Dads pick you up from school when you’re having a bad day and take you out for nachos so you can talk. CAROLINE.
Dads are protective. They check every lock before bed and investigate every sound in the middle of the night.
Dads will do anything to make you laugh, whether it’s loudly breaking into “Let it Go” or burping at the dinner table.
Dads want you to know you’re loved. Your dad never gets on an airplane without sending me a text telling me he loves all of us, even the dog.
Dads stand outside at a freezing ice rink at 6 am so they can videotape a figure skating routine while there’s no one else on the ice...
...and dads get up at 5:30 every Saturday morning from November to February to get a little hockey player to his (ridiculously scheduled) practice.
Dads take you to four stores to find the flip flops you want, without ever becoming impatient.
Dads treasure the idea of family.
So, I suppose, I’ve learned a little something. You don’t get to be a great dad by watching someone else or reading a book or seeing a tutorial on You Tube.
Great dads aren’t taught. They’re born that way.
Happy Father’s Day to all the really great dads.