Reflections on Being a Father

I struggled with whether to write something about Father’s Day prior to Sunday and kept falling short of what to say. However, I would be remiss to let the day get too far in the rearview mirror without reflecting on the joy of being a father.

It starts with recognizing one day that they are no longer the small person who invaded your world and wrapped themselves all around your heart – especially if you happen to be the father of girls.

There’s something special about seeing a father with their child, but the smile and pride that fathers exhibit when they are with their daughters are even more on display. Look at the smiles on Kobe Bryant and Jay-Z for example. It reflects the everyday father-daughter moment captured in celebrity faces. For those brief moments, I see just another father sharing a special moment.

I was even touched by the picture of Dick Cheney standing side-by-side with his daughter Liz Cheney in the well of Congress during the January 6 Memorial. The reason why it resonated is that no other Republicans found the courage to be present. But Dick Chaney, like any father, probably said “ Don’t worry, I’ll stand by you”. He probably even shared an explicative or three suited for the moment. That’s what fathers do.

This is not to slight the father-son relationship, as it’s one that I have had the fortune of marrying into. I’m sure I would have shared some special moments watching my sons grow up as well. However, I realized something about raising daughters that helped explain my father’s actions. Being one of four boys and having one sister, I always realized that she was treated differently. I see partly why now. Part of it was that girls are different.

For the most part, they mature sooner and actually “get it.” They realize what “it” is before most boys figure out there is an “it.”  In fact, my sister was the first one of us I actually remember standing up to my father. She had that kind of spirit. I also realize she knew she would receive the same response that one of the sons would. That’s getting “it” again.

So, reflecting back on Sunday and seeing my daughters, one in-person and the other through Facetime, my two grandchildren with a third on the way, and getting messages from my sons through marriage, I really feel the full weight and blessing of being a father. It’s a special journey! Filled with missteps, laughter, joy, disappointments, tears, extreme pride and so many other emotions.

To say it was a good day is an understatement. To say being a father has been one of the best journeys in my life still falls short. I only hope all the fathers out there can relate and feel the joy that only being a father can bring.

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