Sunday, June 15, 2008

every day dad, because it matters every day

father's day 1976

Father's Day, 1976, my mom ordered that shirt for my dad. I was seven months old. I can't recall what happened or what, if any, gifts were given for the very first ever Father's Day for the Father of my own children. Let's see, that would have been June of 2000. We lived in Southwest Portland on a steep street. I remember lots of summertime picnic dinners on the front lawn. I remember driving our little zippy Saab into the garage with my husband's bicycle still attached above to the bike rack. That first Father's Day, though? Heck if I know. But owing to a relatively recent resurfacing of that size XL bonafide mid seventies sturdy polyester t-shirt, I know exactly what my own dad got to mark his new title, new relationship, new status as somebody's Dad. Per my mother's memory, he did indeed wear it. Once. And then it shuffled around from drawer to closet to box through the years until it finally made its way to me. Which is kinda cool but maybe a little creepy. What should I do with it? You know, other than parade it out on nominally relevant holidays?

I asked my guy if he wanted to wear it today. I wasn't really being serious. He did not respond. I guess I can save it for my little boy and he can don his mother's half naked butt when he's bigger. Which is creepier still, no?

After nearly twelve years of marriage (and a lot of change and hard work), things aren't exactly as I might idealize them to be, but whatever else might be going on, I still (always) appreciate my husband for being, reliably, a really great dad for my children.

I displayed my appreciation by giving him something that fits just right and and is guaranteed never to languish in the back of any drawer for three decades: a fresh hot cup of coffee. Which is to say, I ground the beans and filled the press this morning, waited for the second kettle of water to make a cup of tea. And is, truthfully, the same thing I gave him last year. It's an everyday gesture for the everyday work of being an involved parent. He's involved and a part and my children's biggest hero every day. I appreciate especially that we're not the sort who require neckties or fishing hats or three dollar greeting cards with tired dad jokes to say Hey, Thanks, I love you.

He didn't have any of those teevee commercial magnanimous aspirations for his "special day" no poached egg brunch, no endless streaming sports station, no la-z-boy recliner naps. No, when asked what he wanted to do today, of all the things he might have said (a long run or a bike ride, a trip to a favorite mexican place, what?) he said he wanted to build a tree structure with his daughter.


platform in progress

They've been at it since right after breakfast. When it's all said and done (sometime later this evening) there will be a strong platform in the magnolia, nine feet up in the air.

And that's why he's a good dad. Because he's there. And building and making and talking and sharing every day.


1 comment:

sj said...

lovely lovely lovely.