A phrase often used around here thanks to my wife is that, “It’s always something.” This speaks volumes when it comes to our lives, especially with three boys in tow.
I’ve never been one for the “Hallmark holidays.” You might think I’m a bit grumpy for not wanting to make a big deal about Father’s Day, but it’s only because I’m reminded each day how incredible this role (more than 8 years now) really is. I’m not one for gifts or cards, although it is pretty nice to get a personalized “best dad in the world” letter from the boys. I’ll take those any day.
Being a Father is certainly one of the most challenging and rewarding (not always at the same time) jobs that I’ll ever have. I’ve often said that I want to leave a mark on this world and so far I’ve left three. Actually the boys are already helping with those marks. They leave them on the rugs, the furniture, the walls, and even the bathroom floor when they miss. Watch out world! These kids will most definitely stimulate all five senses and it’s not always pleasant.
Trust me. You can get past the funk that emanates from their rooms every now and again when they say or do something that makes you laugh so hard your belly hurts and you can barely catch your breath. Or, when one of them totally surprises you by sharing something very important to them __________ (fill in the blank) with one of their brothers that’s heart broken because he’s missing out.
So, when my wife said she wanted my day to be special she of course gave me carte blanche. It was my day to do what I wanted. This is definitely more difficult than it sounds because this opportunity doesn’t present itself anywhere near enough to know how to handle this level of responsibility. I was thinking about just sitting around. This concept is pretty foreign to me. I’ve never been the type, so this might actually be an adventure. It’s just that I have a difficult time mentally if I sit for too long and I could tell that Katie was struggling to be fine with the veg out mode I trying on for size, but I could see her nervous energy.
So after an attempt to stream a few shows online, I knew I wasn’t going to get off that easy. My wife kept checking in just to make sure this is how I wanted to spend my day. She was right though. I wanted to do something more for myself. She ended up taking the boys to grab a couple of items on their wish list since they’ve been saving their money, and I took advantage of being able to just pick up and go.
So, I decided to dust off my road bike and head out for a long ride. I first had to find my gear that was buried under the kids’ bikes, scooters, and skateboards. I needed my water bottles, but realized the boys had taken them to baseball practice and your guess is as good as mine as to where they ended up. So much for picking up and going on a moment’s notice.
After the scavenger hunt of finding the missing pieces of equipment I mapped out my route and headed down the road. The weather was pleasant especially since it was already getting to be early afternoon and I wanted to beat the heat. Thirty minutes into my ride I noticed a storm fast approaching. I decided to switch up my route on the fly so that I could stay on the periphery of the storm. Rain is one thing, but lightning adds a little more complexity to the ride.
The more I attempted to get out of the storm’s path the more I was reminded that I was up against something much larger and faster. I was immediately swallowed up in the down pour and the streaks of lightning were hitting the ground directly to the left of me. I had to quickly make a decision about seeking shelter and fortunately I remembered a bridge on that particular route that I could hang out under until the storm passed. It was just around the corner and I sprinted as if I was breaking away from the peloton and heading for the finish line.
Although forced, this was actually a nice opportunity to just sit and reflect. The sound of the rain hitting the bridge and the rolling thunder was a nice atribute to the moment. I don’t often think about what it means to be a father. It’s just who I am. I think I’ve done a pretty good job so far, but the answers to their questions come a lot easier now than when they get older. I just hope I’m ready whenever that time comes. I’m well equipped to deal with the cuts and bruises that need my attention. As time goes on they’ll likely experience a kind of hurt that doesn’t easily subside.
I’ll probably get a few responses that are along the lines of “just leave me alone, you can’t possibly understand what I’m going through…” Even though that phrase has escaped my lips on more than one occasion, it won’t make it any easier to hear it from them. All I can do is make sure they know that I’ll be there for them no matter the circumstance. The decisions will only get exponentially harder. The choices about letting them stay up late, have an extra cookie, or cross the street on their own will soon transition into choices that are going to have a much larger impact. Of course I suppose everything is relative. You do what you have to do in that moment and hope for the best outcome.
I started to think about what I would have said to my boys if they were with me under that bridge watching the rain come down?
“Fellas, I just wanted to let you know that these last eight years have been incredible. Regardless of how uncool it seems to be toting around a diaper bag, rolling up in a mini-van, or rockin’ out to Kidz Bop, I’ve never lived on the edge of my seat more than when I became a father. Don’t take yourself too seriously, laugh out loud, play by the rules, go big every now and again, you’re never too old to clean your room, pay it forward whenever you have the chance, know that I love you dearly, and always be kind.”
As the storm started to pass I was able to jump back on my bike and head out again to finish my ride all the while still thinking about the boys. After about another hour I finally rounded the corner to head back into the neighborhood when the back tire split and almost came off the rim. I was able to unclip my feet and quickly dismount before being forced off. Not exactly how I thought my day was going to go, much like being a dad.
Yep, this Father’s Day wasn’t going to be any less challenging than the other 364 days in the year.
It’s always something and I wouldn’t have it any other way.