Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hey Luke ... I am your Father

That may not be quite the right way to say that but it is among the most famous lines in the Star Wars movie franchise.

I wrote a blog about all the articles, books, and talk show topics that serve to tell us moms that the bar has been set very high for us and it changes all the time just in case you think you reach it.  My friend Kris had a great response to that blog " I do not care what type [tiger, French, helicopter, Freudian topic] of mother I am as long as my kids think I am a great mother" - so true and from my personal experience the kid table of judges raises a 10 card every time for our performance.  There is of course the perfected eye roll of when we do something they do not agree with but that is when we are being the mothers they need even if they do not yet realize it.

So where are the articles on dads ?  Lion dads, Italian suave dads, drone dads -- I am just looking for counterparts to the mother "types". There are articles on the absentee dads - there are some on how to "help" your husband/partner be a better dad but overall not too many.  All that funding for studies that goes to judging women somehow seems to have dried up when it comes to fathers.

That makes me almost as annoyed as the articles on motherhood.  It dismisses the great job so many dads do.  I am surrounded by them.  Of course they need some direction - you know because even though they can cite who batted 3rd in the 1982 world series in the bottom of the 6th inning, they cannot seem to remember where you hid the pasta in the same place it has been for the length of time you have lived in your residence.  They need some mapping - because even though they could tell you whatever fact about history or whatever interests them with an accuracy that Wikipedia envies, they cannot always match weather with appropriate clothing for their children.

So it easy for us, you know mothers who multitask with ease and have yet to ask except if muttering out loud "what should I feed the kids for dinner?", to maybe laugh at them playfully.  Yet here are the dads today that I know - they do feed the kids and do help dress and drop off.  There is Ricky who travels for work and on the one day off does not sit down and relax in the comfort of their home instead of a hotel room but rather wake up in a different time zone then the night before to coach their son's baseball team.  There is Scott who travels and who wakes up at very early hours to take his daughters to swim meets when he is home on weekends.  My husband who follows the directions I leave with military precision and drops off kids every day because it is the way our schedules fit for two working parents.

There are the dads who are cheering their kids on the sidelines, running errands and figuring out what their daughters and sons are growing into.  They are the role models for the boys we are raising to be good men and great people.  There are the dads in this town who show their support for their wives who run for local office and tell their sons through this action that equality for men and women is a given.  There are the dads who are married to each other who chose to create better lives for the 2 sons they adopted. They too are perfect in their imperfections. 

I look back and think that dads have evolved.  My own father and the fathers of most of my friends were not as involved.  They were "tired" after their jobs, they did not attend events, they left the general day to day care to the mothers (whether these women worked outside the home or not) and they were often the discipline threat.  If that is all that was remembered then that would be leaving out the times my father and I went to the movies alone because my mom worked.  I wouldn't be mentioning the love of learning and music and travel that my father helped me develop.  That would be not acknowledging that he had an amazing sense of humor.  Looking back there were fathers then who were part of their children's lives in ways that may not have been as common as it is now.  There was Margaret's dad who let a gaggle of us go to Florida and stay at their vacation place and then drove a station wagon full of what he lovingly called Nimrods all around Jupiter just because we wanted to.  There was Elli's dad who helped my best friend when she wanted to go for a second masters because he believed in her dream.  There is Kris who looks to her dad as the pillar of wisdom and the force of nature that shaped her into the amazing woman she is.

Dads - maybe the lack of articles on them is more about the pressure put on moms.  My husband and my friends are the dads that books should be written about with the praise they deserve.  So as we inch closer to Father's Day maybe it is time for that extra peck on the cheek, that one less sigh as they ask once again where the cereal is (still same place for past 10 years) and one extra time to tell them what a great dad they are to our children. If in my blog about mothers I was Col Jessup, minus the Code Red of course, dads today would be Lt Daniel Kaffee (cause come on ladies Tom Cruise was a looker at that point) - you know sometimes bit lax about the serious things, bit less focused on the details of the trials of day to day, great at hitting a baseball and in need of guidance on the law (so that makes us all Demi Moore for a second too helping them become the best they can be) but in the end dedicated to being the best dad he could be.


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