Hey hey daddy-o
Fathers have evolved through time, and we do not always take the time to acknowledge their contributions to the family as much as we do for Moms. It makes sense, even in the most egalitarian of houses I still see the mother organizing what dad executes, managing and doing the workload and most of all let's be honest there is nothing like a mom. Moms love with some super elevated emotional nerve that the best of fathers only get close to.
Yet I am so really overwhelmed with emotion when I see how fatherhood has evolved. There were always good fathers, bad fathers and the average bit of both of those things fathers when I was growing up. They were there but not present, they were often loud, often the discipline stick used and many a time they were the ones that were in need of taking care as much as the kids. These men of a previous generation were teachers to their kids, they loved their kids but too many did not know what that meant in terms of showing it. We also have as a society changed our understanding of what parenting is and with that both mom and dad have become different than our parents.
My own father was a complicated figure, kind at times, really mean at others. An auto-didact without a way to teach what he learned most of the time without derision. A selfish man who loved to entertain. A man who loved music, art, education and travel and passed those things on to me. We struggled my father and I. I did not respond well to his constant measurement of me to others where I fell short almost every time, to his pushing me by telling me that it was expected that I achieve more and more and most of all the times he just was mean because he could be. I was not that kid that would rise up to "show him" yet that was not the man I choose to call the whole of my father. He was funny, really funny, we went record shopping together, we went to the movies, we did a lot of things and he was great to learn from. He was my Daddy and I miss him even when I have consciously self-corrected behaviors that I saw myself mimick of his that had been things that I disliked in him. The other things he was were about him I realize, after years of therapy, not about me.
Today's fathers that I know are so different. I see them with kids, they take them to events and stay there cheering them, giving unwanted advice and then softening it up. There they are helping coach various sports teams and being good with other people's kids not just their own. They are doing carpools and changed diapers. They are an active part of school performances and events. They spend time with their kids and enjoy it. These men follow through on the things the mother's of their children ask of them. They are not "helping" their wives or partners because these are their children so they are sharing in the raising of them.
Today's fathers want to be more than the threat needed when a child misbehaves. They are working on being the person their children will want to be with when they are adults and do not need to be with either parent except because they enjoy it.
Yeah I know we make fun of the fact that you still cannot find things in the house that have always been in the same spot, that you still ask us questions about basic routines and things that we as moms do not ever seem to need input on (what should I feed the kids among my personal favorites?). You are there as our bookend to prop up our children until they are their own novels, and we will be there when they need a rest on that same shelf.
I watch my male friends, and other dad's that I know, and I want to say you are an awesome bunch. I applaud you and am glad to have you around my own kids who, if they choose, will have some great role models to build from as fathers.
You will never be moms but you do not need to be you need to be the best fathers you can be and from where I am standing you are all doing a pretty kick-ass job with that. Anyone can father a child but it's the best of men who are truly Papas, Daddy's, Tati, Pops.
Happy Father's Day