Father’s Day

When my father became terminally ill I was not to young to understand what was happening and what was going to happen but I pretended to be. But then I discovered that hiding from bad news doesn’t help. It finds you anyway.

So for about 10 years I didn’t really celebrate Father’s Day. Then came marriage and a father figure returned to my world in the person of my father-in-law. Our relationship was chilly at first but warmed over time. Reflecting on those early in-law days I can now see that he didn’t really know what to do with me and I certainly didn’t know what to do with him. But we both learned and things improved.

Then about eight years after my wife and I took our wedding vows my twins arrived and I suddenly became the real deal. Dad. Father’s Day took on a new meaning.

There have been ties and shirts and socks and cards and each have been splendid. But I learned one thing early and it was sobering then and sobering now: When  you become a dad you are closely watched. Kids don’t always do what you say they always do what you do.

I eventually found myself trying to gather some of the hazy teenage and pre-teenage memories of my own father and mould them into nuggets of wisdom I could hand to my children. It’s been a sometimes frustrating and sometimes heartening mental exercise that remains on going.

Sunday, of course, is Father’s Day. If you’re a dad and your youngsters wish to shower you with attention; let them. (We secretly enjoy it anyway.)

If you can spend part of the day with your dad, do so. It will be good for both of you.

Dads matter.

Published by Gary Garth

Writer Contributing outdoor columnist, USA Today Outdoor columnist, Kentucky Monthly

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