This is my second Father’s Day as a Dad. Hopefully I am doing a better job as a father than I am as a blogger. If you are a Dad you know how time consuming Dad Life can be. My wife and I recently re-watched the movie Parenthood (1989). I have seen this movie several times; the first time was in the movie theater when I was eight years old. I always enjoy seeing how my own understanding of things changes depending on what ‘stage of life’ I find myself. One scene stood out this time around was when Gil (Steve Martin) and Karen (Mary Steenburgen) are having an argument. As Gil is about to leave Karen says “Do you really have to go?” to which Gil replies, “My whole life is have to!”
What Dad can’t relate to the frustration of being a responsible adult? It is almost as if responsibility means doing anything other than what you want to do with your life!! And now I have to feel even more guilty for being such a selfish person!! I’m laughing as I write this and you should know I am mocking such an attitude. It is an easy attitude to adopt as a parent, but didn’t we know going into this that we would need to put aside our selfish aspirations and do everything we can to set our children up for success? Or at least that we would need to make better use of our time to accomplish both?
Some Dad’s can’t do it. They go to the store to buy a pack of smokes and never come back. But what do they do with that newfound freedom from responsibility? Do they become super successful at something and return to take care of the children they abandoned? No. I have a feeling that if I cannot handle the responsibility of being a father AND being successful at other things, I probably have a mindset that prevents me from being responsible or successful at anything.
I don’t have to do anything.
I get to be a father.
So this Father’s Day I woke up at five in the morning, although I intended to sleep in, and put my Dad Pants on. I made some blueberry pancakes for my wife and daughter and took a minute to remember how grateful I am to be a Dad! I didn’t do it because I had to, I did it because I want to. And I am so grateful that I get to! And I suddenly realized that Father’s Day is another day for me to show my appreciation for my family.
A while back a mentor taught me something about birthdays. I used to get a little depressed in the days leading up to my birthday. I felt that I usually didn’t get what I wanted, or what I expected. I was prepared every year to be disappointed on my birthday. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Who would want to be around miserable ol’ me on my birthday with an attitude like that? That mentor taught me how to change my mindset about my birthday and turn it into something that hasn’t been disappointing since! I take my wife out to dinner for my birthday! And I intend to treat my daughter and wife just the same on Father’s Day. When I make it about me, my expectations, and what I think I deserve I will always be disappointed.
When I clear away the clutter of a world that is always trying to sell desire and convince me I deserve this or that, I can focus on what is in front of me and what really matters. The greatest gift I can receive is to be with my family eating blueberry pancakes on Father’s Day. That Attitude of Gratitude helps to ensure that I’ll get to celebrate Father’s Day with my family again next year.