Over the years I have been called many names. Mister, boss, buddy, sweetheart and a host of more colorful names that I won't bother to mention. But without a doubt, my favorite name to be called is "Dad". For me, being a father or "dad" is the greatest privilege that I have ever enjoyed.
I have two great children, now ages 31 and 30 (can I still call them children?) and they have given me more joy, pride and happiness than I ever could have dreamed of. I distinctly remember the day that my daughter was born, she is the older of the two, and feeling as though my world had changed. I felt as though a whole new instinct had taken over and suddenly I knew how to love in a way that I had never dreamed of. Over the years I have continued to tell people, especially friends and close friends of my children who were pregnant, that you may love your husband or wife, you may love your parents, and you may love someone else who is very important and close to you. But the love that you have for a child, for your own flesh and blood, is completely different. You made them and that creates a bond that is different than any other in life.
In the beginning we spent a lot of time cuddling, holding them and feeding them. As they grew, our activities changed. We added peekaboo, tickling, playing with toys and rolling balls. Then, before we knew it, they were in preschool, kindergarten and elementary school. In fact, for many years I said that my favorite years were when they were 2 to 5 years old. It seemed as though every day they were adding new words to their vocabulary. They were still so wide eyed and innocent and honest and every experience was new to them.
As they grew, they became involved in more activities. Dance classes, Little League, shows at school and so much more. They began to socialize more and develop relationships and they made good choices about who they would be friends with. In high school they both became involved with theater and music (Hmmm..... I wonder who they got that from?) and every single performance was an opportunity to fill our chests with pride.
Today they are grown. I love seeing them and watching what their lives are becoming and who they are becoming. They have both moved away for school and even further away during college to study in London and Washington DC and they did it quite successfully. Our daughter came home and has stayed. Our son moved to Washington DC where he lived for several years and found the love of his life, married her and now we have a "new daughter" and together they live in Austin, Texas. But we are confident that when they are ready to start a family, they will move closer to us.
I know that not everyone has had the same experience as we have. Good kids can come from terrible parents and terrible parents can produce great kids. I believe that having good kids is a combination of parenting and luck of the draw. We have been very lucky.
Among their very first words was the word "da da" which eventually evolved into “dad” and they still call me that 30 years later. Of all the names that I have ever been call "dad" is still my favorite.
Father's Day is the day that I can celebrate being a father. I can thank my two great kids, and their incredible mom for that.
I do hope that all of the dads out there feel the same way I do and have a very happy Father's Day.