Paternal Provisions

What is special about fathers? When we think about our own existence, the parent that first comes to mind is usually our mom…I mean she’s the one who actually gave birth to us, nurtured us, kissed our boo boos and patted our bottoms each time we stood up and attempted to take another tentative step.

No disrespect to mom, but we need to give dad some serious props for all that he’s done for us…and mom. The way he’s wired, according to American culture and history scholars, is to be a protector and provider. Where his instincts may be more focused on problem solving than wiping our tears, his strength and resolve to work hard for his family is something to be appreciated and commended by each of us.

My own father was not warm and fuzzy, but very intent on the bottom line. “What’s the matter?” “How much is it?” “Where are you going?” and “Drive carefully,” were some of his most common statements. It sounds minimal, but what you don’t hear is how deeply he cared about our family. He never left the house without kissing my mother and me first. His “I love you” was heartfelt and, since his passing in 1987, my grateful thoughts of Spike always make me smile.

There are the involved dads, who are always the first to take you fishing, throw a baseball with you, kick the ball in the backyard and show you how to pull-start a mower. They coach the team, play a mean game of foosball and have no problem with the dirt you’ve tracked in on your cleats. Contrarily, there are the dads who spend 80 hours a week at work to ensure the bills are paid, that you’ve got a beautiful roof over your head and you’re getting the best possible education. They love us in a way that is just as deep, but not as apparent. They trade hours for dollars, but many times we don’t appreciate it as an investment in us.

And some of the dads are not super dad…they are just plain dad. And that is probably the best kind. He is human. He gets cranky sometimes. He worries to himself without worrying everyone around him. He laughs too loud, he’s socially awkward and his friends are weird. He loves antique matchbox cars, collects vinyl albums and shops on eBay when he can’t sleep.

Whoever your dad is, appreciate him for who he is this Father’s Day. Thanks so much, Daddy, we couldn’t have been here without you!

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