Sunday, June 19, 2011

I "Heart" Dad's Day

My credentials to celebrate Father's Day! Andrew and Naomi in New York last month
I’m opening this weekend’s blog entry with a simple riddle. Here it is: Today (Sunday) will be my 30th Father’s day as a dad. However, our oldest child, Andrew, is just 28 years old. That should be enough information. You do the math and figure it out.
(I’ll either post the answer at the end of the blog, or maybe I’ll make you email me for it…? Hmmm, what to do? OK, here you go. Post your solution to this riddle as a “comment”, then we’ll see who gets it first.)
Being a dad has been (and continues to be) the most amazing journey. I believe it’s accurate to say the simple fact of children has accentuated/exacerbated pretty much every other experience in my life and – essentially – multiplied the rest of the story to the power of amazing.
  • It’s like adding jalapeno peppers to an otherwise fairly tame recipe…
  • or spiking the egg-nog…
  • or putting rocket fuel in your lawnmower…
  • or  switching out the mini-van engine with a race-car motor…
  • or exchanging a ten-minute family slide show for a full-length family featured movie directed by Spielberg…
  • or having The Stones sit in with the church choir…
  • or planning to remodel the back porch, but the guy from Extreme Home Makeover shows up – with a bulldozer and 100 construction workers….
Yeah, that’s it. I think I’ve nailed it! Life before children was like, “I think we’ll paint the walls and maybe re-do some of the screening…” Then the first Father’s Day comes along and – after that – it’s all, “Get out of the way, people, we’re demolishing your entire life and we’ll be building you a new one.”
It’s the same life, essentially; it’s just the same life but now it’s life-on-steroids; it’s a “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” that lasts a good two decades before it settles down some; and then it’s still radical, but all wonderful and grateful and laced with grandchildren (or soon will be) and… yeah, that’s it.
My dad at brunch Saturday
So anyway, I drove down to Ellenton yesterday to take my dad and my brother Geoff out for brunch. (Mum and Dad are usually in the UK this time of the year, so it’s the first time in I don’t know how long we’ve done this together – it was a real treat.) And I thought about how you can be 82 years old (and eleven months minus a few days, but who’s counting…) and still be a dad, and still love your kids because the wonder of that relationship will never change.
And I felt profoundly grateful for the gift of a dad who I can talk with, and who can have brunch with me at 83-(ish); and I really, really wished that my children could have been there too.
My dad has been a dad more than 57 years now. My brother, Geoff and I sure have added some jalapenos to his salad (and some rocket fuel to his lawnmower… and some Rolling Stones to his church choir…)!
Love you, Dad – DEREK
Miss you, Andrew & Naomi – DAD(DY)

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