Sunday, June 17, 2007

Thanks, Dad

As most of my friends know, Father's Day has a special meaning to me this year. In two months or so, my wife and I will be having our first child (okay, she'll be having the child... I'll be standing nearby making that face all fathers make during the delivery while holding her hand). That meant that I woke up on Father's Day thinking about more than just being a son -- I woke up thinking about actually being a Dad.

Maybe this doesn't happen to everyone, but thinking about becoming a Dad has me thinking about my father, and everything we did together, and everything he means to me. I'm extrordinarily lucky in my life -- I'm blessed with a loving wife, fantastic family (on both sides), an unbelievably caring and supportive group of friends, generally good health, a great job (hey, people I work with might read this... and yes, I do like my job)... just about everything, save maybe for enough hair on my head.

For just about all of that, I owe thanks to my parents first and foremost. It's cliche to talk about the fact that I wouldn't be where I am today without them -- but it's also true. There are so many unbelieveable things my folks did for me and continue to do for me today. It's even funnier today to see my parents interacting with my younger brother, because I see their arguments with him and flash back to my own. Back then, I used to argue with them, even though deep down I was pretty sure they were right 95% of the time. My dad in particular got to have some wonderful debates with his eldest and easily most obstinate child (despite my little brother's sincere efforts to claim that crown); he usually let me have my way and screw up, unless he thought it was definitely too big a problem. That balance -- between knowing when to let me screw up and knowing when to step in -- let's just say that it's one of only about a million parenting mysteries my Dad seemed to be a master at. He mastered the other ones pretty well, too -- so much so that my Dad has now graduated to being an excellent grandfather (or so my 141 day-old niece seems to think). One of the best parts about growing up and becoming a mature adult (or whatever I now am) is the opportunity to interact with your folks in a whole new way. They're no longer responsible for you, but they're always there for you.

Anyway, this is my long-winded way of saying thanks to my Dad, because I'm now experiencing a mixture or excitement and anxiety that I believe probably ends about the time your kids get married. It's strange to think that some human being will be looking to me for guidance and advice in a couple of months... and more than a little unsettling. Luckily, I know that I've had enough guidance to think that I can handle most situations, thanks to having excellent role models like my parents. And on the off-chance that I don't know the answer... well, I'll do what I always do. I'll call my Dad, who'll tell me the answer, or help me figure it out. If I'm half as good a father as he's been, my kids should turn out great.

Thanks, Dad.


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