A few months ago, when my son came to pick up his nine year old daughter after a sleepover at our place, she ran and jumped into his arms and exclaimed with joy and excitement, “Daddy!” The mutual love was apparent and heartwarming.
In that moment, I felt both happy and sad. So happy that she has been raised to be open and loving with him, and sad that I never had that kind of relationship with my father. Don’t misunderstand me, my father loved me and I loved him, but as a product of his time, I can’t remember him playing with us or being physically affectionate. I certainly wouldn’t have jumped into his arms at nine year old! What we both missed out of because of it. He was MUCH more openly loving with his grandchildren.
My son, the man who swore he was never having kids, who never babysat as a teenager, fell in love with a woman who came with an eight year old girl; he quickly became ‘Daddy’ to her including adopting her. And has been an involved parent with the younger one from the day she was born, from all the physical care to fishing, hiking, baking, cooking, time at the rink and on the baseball field.
On this Fathers’ Day, I remember my father with love, and celebrate my son who is a demonstration that younger men are no longer locked into rigid roles and expectations of what a good father is supposed to be!