I’ve been a father for 35 years and my youngest is getting married in three days. Looking back at these years I have found the greatest father’s day gift. And it isn’t a tacky tie.
Fatherhood came earlier than I had hoped. At 24 years, I had this wonderful baby boy in my arms. I was a graduate student at the time. Looking at this cherub, I resolved to stop playing around in the lab and get my PhD done so that I could get a decent job so I could support my family.
My Sweetheart and I had two more children. They were about 2.5 years apart as we had planned. Our reasoning was to have only one kid in diapers at any one time. And one kid in a crib. For the most part this worked out pretty well.
Dedicating yourself to raising a family is a long term commitment. It takes over 20 years to see the result of this human experiment. Children don’t come with instruction manuals and each is different. The best you can do as a parent is stumble along doing the best you can hoping everything will turn out alright.
Maybe we had a little foresight. Sweetheart and I had long talks about our parenting philosophy, goals, hopes and principles. This way it didn’t matter who was present the kids would get consistent guidance.
What were some of those aspirations? All the kids had piano lessons and were in choir – music was important to us. We followed a firm but fair policy, stressing honesty, respect, contribution and commitment. Our ultimate end game was to have each individual child grow up to be a responsible adult who pursued and were best at their own passions.
There were many Father’s Days in-between. I got the tacky ties, tools, and pretty drawings. At one point, to help relieve the stress of “what to get Dad”, I asked to be treated to draft beer and pickled eggs – a throw back to my teenage days at the Taverne aux Amis in Baie Comeau.
How has my human experiment turned out? Fabulously. I am so proud of each of them and am blessed with their talents and love. Our dreams of what these little pieces of precious lives would become has been exceeded. And the best part – we all like each other – as grown-ups.
Soon all my children will be over 30 years – all adults. I am on the cusp of performing the marriage ceremony for my youngest son in three days. I have in-depth discussions on economics with my eldest son and admire the creative drive of my daughter.
The greatest Father’s Day gift – I am grateful for the amazing people that my kids have become.